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Journal Article

Greed, Generosity, and other Problems with Unmarried Women's Property

Jill Rappoport
Victorian Studies
Vol. 58, No. 4 (Summer 2016), pp. 636-660
Published by: Indiana University Press
DOI: 10.2979/victorianstudies.58.4.02
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Page Count: 25
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Greed, Generosity, and other Problems with Unmarried Women's Property
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This essay examines how blood ties motivate the financial choices of several unmarried women in Anthony Trollope's fiction. It both proposes a model for interpreting female economic agency that does not depend primarily upon sexual economies and suggests the significance of married women's property reform for relationships outside of marriage. The punitive plotlines I examine in The Eustace Diamonds, Phineas Finn, Phineas Redux, and Can You Forgive Her? highlight the similar threats posed by single women's greed and generosity. By challenging principles of inheritance and heterosexual exchange, depriving the very families they claim to help of support, and creating unacceptable burdens for their male kin, these characters underscore contemporary fears and fantasies about the intrafamilial stakes of women's independent financial choices.

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