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Working GirlsFiction, Sexuality, and Modernity$
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Katherine Mullin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198724841

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198724841.001.0001

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Censorship and the Challenge to the Young Person

Censorship and the Challenge to the Young Person

Chapter:
(p.198) 6 Censorship and the Challenge to the Young Person
Source:
Working Girls
Author(s):

Katherine Mullin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198724841.003.0007

Chapter 6 traces the persistence of the New Barmaid into canonical fiction. Édouard Manet’s 1882 painting Un Bar aux Folies-Bergère encouraged writers to consider the barmaid’s erotic volatility as a metaphor for generic innovation. Manet’s influence was felt in British and Irish literary fictions about barmaids which appropriated the cultural contests outlined in chapter 5 to engage with, interrogate, or critique naturalism. George Moore, Margaret Oliphant, Thomas Hardy, George Gissing, and James Joyce in different ways established the barmaid as a privileged subject of literary experiment. Finally, this chapter indicates the New Barmaid’s cultural resonance. The New Barmaid was a potent, ironic counterweight to another, importunate, late Victorian sexual persona: the Young Person, imagined by moral reformers as the innocent—and suggestible—implied reader of fiction. To writers menaced by censorship, barmaids’ resilient modernity helped to expose and ridicule an anachronism.

Keywords:   barmaid, New Woman, Young Person, censorship, innovation, modernism

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