Mel's Reviews > Pre-Raphaelites in Love

Pre-Raphaelites in Love by Gay Daly
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I have to say I was not very impressed by this book at all. In the preface Daly claimed she was writing a feminist history on marriage, however what she was writing was in fact very male-focused biography. The women seemed to only exist in HOW they related to the men, their own lives, activities and artistic abilities were largely ignored. For example, one of them set up an art school, raised 10,000 to fund under privileged artists, ran and won a councillor seat in a local election, this was covered in one paragraph, and then Daly went up to say how the best thing she did was writing her husband’s biography. I must admit I don’t care much for biographies, particularly when, like this one, they tend to not go into the social or cultural history of the time. Despite later showing how this was not the case, Daly seemed to constantly be restating people’s misconceptions about the Victorian’s particularly Victorian sexuality. She said how unmarried men did not have sex, except with prostitutes, how Rushkin was shocked by his wife’s pubic hair, while at the same time appearing to be totally baffled by the more complicated relations among the PBR. Daly did quote quite a lot from letters between people, however, overall there seemed to be far too much of her own interpretation brought into the text. This isn’t really one I could recommend.

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