Consuming Angels: Advertising and Victorian Women

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 1994 M10 13 - 240 pages
Timid and retiring, the Victorian housewife was an "angel in the house," or so says the stereotype. But when this angel picked up a popular magazine--The Lady, for instance--she saw in its advertisements images of Grecian goddesses, women warriors, queens, actresses, adventurers. These arrestingly sexual and surprisingly powerful images are the subject of Consuming Angels, a major examination of how Victorian ads shaped social values. Stylishly written and featuring 73 reproductions, this book shows how ads used the hedonistic aspects of Victorian culture to sell their wares, glorified consumerism, and mythologized the middle-class life. Images of aggressive women, Loeb shows, played well to both men and women. And ultimately, these ads helped usher in the twentieth century with the creation of a new community: the community of consumers.

From inside the book


1 Victorian Consumer Culture
2 Commercial Interpretations of the Domestic Ideology
Productive Engines and Consuming Conflagrations
4 Heroes for Sale
Evangelical Forms and Material Deliverers
6 Community and the Individual
Elitism or Material Democratization?
8 Conclusion

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Page 60 - That man, I think, has had a liberal education who has been so trained in youth that his body is the ready servant of his will, and does with ease and pleasure all the work that, as a mechanism, it is capable of; whose intellect is a clear, cold, logic engine, with all its parts of equal strength and in smooth working order; ready, like a steam engine, to be turned to any kind of work and spin the gossamers as well as forge the anchors of the mind...
Page 19 - This is the true nature of home it is the place of Peace; the shelter, not only from all injury, but from all terror, doubt, and division. In so far as it is not this, it is not home; so far as the anxieties of the outer life penetrate into it, and the inconsistently-minded, unknown, unloved, or hostile society of the outer world is allowed by either husband or wife to cross the threshold, it ceases to be home ; it is then only a part of that outer world which you have roofed over, and lighted...
Page 19 - But so far as it is a sacred place, a vestal temple, a temple of the hearth watched over by household gods, before whose faces none may come but those whom they can receive with love, so far as it is this, and roof and fire are types only of a nobler shade and light, shade as of the rock in a weary land, and light as of the Pharos in the stormy sea, so far it vindicates the name and fulfils the praise of home.
Page 48 - Gentlemen the Exhibition of 1851 is to give us a true test and a living picture of the point of development at which the whole of mankind has arrived in this great task, and a new startingpoint from which all nations will be able to direct their further exertions.
Page 49 - To watch the corn grow, and the blossoms set; to draw hard breath over ploughshare or spade; to read, to think, to love, to hope, to pray, - these are the things that make men happy; they have always had the power of doing these, they never will have power to do more.
Page 49 - FORGET six counties overhung with smoke, Forget the snorting steam and piston stroke, Forget the spreading of the hideous town ; Think rather of the pack-horse on the down, And dream of London, small, and white, and clean, The clear Thames bordered by its gardens green...
Page 19 - She must be enduringly, incorruptibly good; instinctively, infallibly wise wise, not for self-development, but for self-renunciation: wise, not that she may set herself above her husband, but that she may never fail from his side: wise, not with the narrowness of insolent and loveless pride, but with the passionate gentleness of an infinitely variable, because infinitely applicable, modesty of service the true changefulness of woman.
Page 73 - The Poet who could merely sit on a chair, and compose stanzas, would never make a stanza worth much. He could not sing the Heroic warrior, unless he himself were at least a Heroic warrior too. I fancy there is in him the Politician, the Thinker, Legislator, Philosopher ; in one or the other degree, he could have been, he is all these.
Page 60 - Cheerful submission to superiors, self-respect and independence of character, kindness and protection to the weak, readiness to forgive offence, a desire to conciliate the differences of others, and, above all, fearless devotion to duty and unflinching truthfulness.
Page 48 - Sunny tokens of the Line, Polar marvels, and a feast Of wonder, out of West and East, And shapes and hues of Art divine ! All of beauty, all of use, That one fair planet can produce, Brought from under every star, Blown from over every main, And mixt, as life is mixt with pain, The works of peace with works of war.

About the author (1994)

Lori Anne Loeb is Assistant Professor of Modern British History at the University of South Carolina.

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