Consuming Angels

Consuming Angels : Advertising and Victorian Women

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Description

Timid and retiring, the Victorian housewife was an "angel in the house," or so says the stereotype. But when this angel picked up a popular magazine-The Lady, for instance-she saw in its advertisements images of Greek goddesses, women warriors, queens, actresses, adventurers. These arrestingly sexual and surprisingly powerful images are the subject of Consuming Angels, a major examination of how Victorian ads shaped social values. Stylishly written and featuring 73 reproductions, this book shows how ads used the hedonistic aspects of Victorian culture to sell their wares, glorified consumerism, and mythologized the middle-class life. Images of aggressive women, Loeb shows, played well to both men and women. And ultimately, these ads helped usher in the twentieth century with the creation of a new community: the community of consumers.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 236 pages
  • 162.56 x 231.14 x 20.32mm | 453.59g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • halftones
  • 0195085965
  • 9780195085969
  • 1,641,928

Back cover copy

Timid and retiring, the Victorian housewife was an "angel in the house", or so says the stereotype. But when this angel picked up a popular magazine she saw in its advertisements images of Grecian goddesses, women warriors, queens, actresses, adventurers. Stylishly written and featuring a wealth of illustrations, Consuming Angels demonstrates how advertisements picked up hedonistic patterns in Victorian culture, glorified the culture's consumerism, and mythologized a middle-class life which offered prosperity for all. Since advertisements appealed to female as well as male consumers, Lori Anne Loeb argues that on some level these advertising images must have touched on the Victorian woman's perception of herself as a powerful force in the home. And she finds in the Victorian conception of heroism democratic aspirations that reveal the origins of the twentieth-century's democracy of consumption, a society held together by a shared culture of consumerism. This richly researched book will appeal to historians, students, and anyone interested in examining the prominent role advertising played in reflecting and shaping Victorian social values and ideals.show more

Review quote

There is much to commend in this book. It is based on a painstaking analysis of over 250,000 Victorian advertisements, many of them from the John Johnson Collection at the Bodleian Library, and it is beautifully presented and illustrated. This book is a treasure trove of beautifully illustrated Victorian advertisements, and the reader acquires a real appreciation of the range and typology of the genre. * Alex Owen, Northwestern University, American Historical Review, April 1996 * it contributes a useful analytical framework within which to place the diverse images with which we are presented ... The focus on British material is particularly to be welcomed in a field which has been dominated by studies of the North American experience. It ... offers a thought-provoking alternative perspective on material which has long been of interest to business historians, and deserves an audience among those interested in exploring how the cultural and commercial history of advertising can both complement and contribute to each other. * Sally M. Horrocks, University of Leicester, Business History, Jan '96 * This richly researched monograph will interest anyone concerned with material culture in the late Victorian and Edwardian eras...this is still a superb introduction to an advertising mentality which presumably led to the successful marketing of products in an age of rapidly growing consumerism. * The Historian * It...offers a thought-provoking alternative perspective on material which has long been of interest to business historians, and deserves an audience among those interested in exploring how the cultural and commercial history of advertising can both complement and contribute to each other * Business History *show more

About Lori Anne Loeb

Lori Anne Loeb is Assistant Professor of Modern British History at the University of South Carolina.show more

Rating details

8 ratings
3.62 out of 5 stars
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