Arthur Munby (1828-1910) left behind diaries that record his life-long obsession with working-class Victorian women, whom he interviewed, photographed and wrote about. This obsession led to his relationship with, and eventual secret marriage to, his maidservant Hannah Cullwick.
Arthur Munby (1828-1910) was a Victorian gentleman from a respected family of Yorkshire lawyers. He left behind diaries that record his life-long obsession with working-class Victorian women, whom he interviewed, photographed and wrote about. This osbession led to his relationship with, and eventual secret marriage to, his maidservant Hannah Cullwick. Working women fascinated Munby because they disrupted his Victorian ideal of femininity: their bodies were alterd by physical exertion and dirt, and they were also often deformed by disease. Drawing not only on the diaries but also on vast, untapped archive of documents, photographs, poems and sketches, "Watching Hannah" is an account of a compulsive observer of working women and a fetishist of hard-working female hands. The text analyzes Munby's obsessions in relation to changing definitions of gender, sexual identity and class to reveal wider male preoccupations with femininity, the body, deformity, masculinity and - most of all - sexuality, at a pivotol point in European history.
Table of Contents
Preface 7 (6)
Watching Hannah 13 (24)
Harriet's Nose: Horror, Bodily De-formation 37 (24)
Venus in Dirt: Servitude and Mastery 61 (30)
Disordering Bodies: Gender Hybridity 91 (34)
Dorothy's Hands: Feminizing Men 125(18)
Sexuating Arthur 143(23)