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|Title:||Women, Labor and Technology in the Late Victorian Age: Typewriting in George Gissing’s The Odd Women and Grant Allen’s The Type-writer Girl|
Chen, Eva Yin-I
typewriting;Victorian technology;George Gissing;Grant Allen;Victorian labor
|Issue Date:||2014-03-20 17:48:34 (UTC+8)|
This paper examines typewriting as represented in two late Victorian novels-George Gissing's The Odd Women (1893) and Grant Allen's The Type-Writer Girl (1897). Touted as the most visible and crucial technological innovation in office work before computerization, the typewriter was primarily operated by women and contributed significantly to middle-class women's entrance from domesticity into the urban public sphere of business and commerce. As such, the typewriter is among the earliest 19th century technologies closely associated with women, thus visibly crystallizing the complicated relationship between women and technology in the late 19th century. Typewriting as a genteel profession that demands a certain level of education and intelligence involves the dimension of labor, particularly as disciplined, repetitive machine-aided mass labor that is a distinctly 19th century phenomenon. But it also involves the dimension of technology, as the typewriter sits along with the telephone, telegraph, phonograph, cinematograph and stenograph as part of the late 19th century technologies of communication and recording that emphasize speed and the prosthetic extension of human faculties. This paper examines the different presentations of the typewriter girl in order to unearth 19th century views on the body-machine complex, views that point to links between the 19th century Machine Age and today's Digital Age.
|Relation:||NTU Studies in Languages and Literatures, 25(2), 1-32|
|Appears in Collections:||[Department of English] Periodical Articles|
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