Law Text Culture


C. Higgins


Consideration of the legal, social and economic status of women and associated debate about the very nature of woman and her proper sphere, dismissively labelled "the Woman Business" by Thomas Carlyle, became a major preoccupation in mid-Victorian thought and writing and central to the legal and social refonns that gradually took place in the second half of the century. As Barickman et. al. point out, rather than being "a debate" per se, it was rather a set of issues, impulses, preoccupations - a pervasive social climate of questioning and change that eventually reached into every class and affected, however slowly, nearly every relationship between men and women in nineteenth-century England.