This volume is a comprehensive and transatlantic literary study of women's nineteenth-and-twentieth-century fiction. Firstly, it introduces and explores the concept of women's affective labour, and examines literary representations of this work in British and American fiction written by women between 1848 and 1915. Secondly, it revives largely ignored texts by the "scribbling women" of Britain and America, such as Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Mona Caird, and Mary Hunter Austin, and rereads established authors, such as Elizabeth Gaskell, Kate Chopin, and Edith Wharton, to demonstrate how all these works provide valuable insights into women's lives in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Finally, by adopting the lens of affective labour, the study explores the ways in which women were portrayed as striving for self-fulfilment through forms of emotional, mental, and creative endeavours that have not always been fully appreciated as `work' in critical accounts of nineteenth-and-twentieth-century fiction.
Katherine Skaris received her BA degree from Stony Brook University, USA, and her Master's in English from Queens College in New York in 2011. She completed her doctoral degree at Durham University, UK, in January 2016, supervised by Stephen Regan and Dr Simon James. Her PhD thesis explores the portrayal of women's labour in nineteenth-and-early twentieth-century American and British fiction. Her most recent publication was the article "Affective Labouring in Catherine L. Pirkis' The Experiences of Loveday Brooke: Lady Detective", published in The Victorian in 2014. Her current research focuses on literary and cultural histories of women and their labours in America and Britain. She specializes in nineteenth-century American literature, Victorian literature, and women's writing. She is currently teaching part-time for the English Studies Department at Durham University.