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Walter BesantThe Business of Literature and the Pleasures of Reform$
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Kevin A. Morrison

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620351

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620351.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021

From Happy Individuals to Universal Sisterhood

From Happy Individuals to Universal Sisterhood

Affective Reforms in All Sorts and Conditions of Men and Children of Gibeon

Chapter:
(p.187) Chapter Ten From Happy Individuals to Universal Sisterhood
Source:
Walter Besant
Author(s):

Vicky Cheng

Haejoo Kim

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781789620351.003.0011

This essay traces the shifting frameworks of affective reform proposed by Walter Besant in two of his novels about the East End, All Sorts and Conditions of Men (1882) and Children of Gibeon (1886). While the cultivation of individual happiness based on bourgeois domesticity offers a strategy for reorienting working-class values in the former novel, the latter promotes a pursuit of communitarian values rooted in universal sisterhood, which supersedes familial bonds and class distinctions. Reading these two novels in conversation with each other reveals a narrative critique of rights-based individualism along the lines of revisionist liberal thought, and redirects affective attention toward fostering kinship associations for communal mutuality.

Keywords:   Walter Besant, All Sorts and Conditions of Men, Children of Gibeon, Thomas Hill Green, East End, Affective Reform, Communitarian Liberalism, Happiness, Sisterhood, Domesticity

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