Sex and Sexuality, Gender and Transgender

  • Richard Fantina


Many nineteenth-century reviewers and most of those few who have since studied his work remark on Reade’s compelling portrayals of female characters. Conan Doyle writes of “the humanity and the lovability of his women” (42). To William Dean Howells, Reade’s novels “winningly impart the sense of womanhood” (43). A partial description of Margaret Brandt, when Gerard first encounters her in The Cloister and the Hearth, provides an example of Reade’s creative power in depicting beauty in female characters:

The young woman was dressed in plain russet cloth; yet snow-white lawn covered that part of her neck the gown left visible, and ended half-way up her white throat in a little band of gold embroidery. And her head-dress was new to Gerard; instead of hiding her hair in a pile of linen or lawn, she wore an open network of silver cord with silver spangles at the intersection; in this her glossy auburn hair was rolled in front into solid waves, and supported behind a luxurious and shapely mass. (II)


Sexual Desire Female Character Female Masculinity Sexual Object Foul Play 
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© Richard Fantina 2010

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  • Richard Fantina

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