The Rebel of the Family (1880) is the first New Woman novel by Eliza Lynn Linton. Perdita Winstanley, the novel’s protagonist, struggles to balance the competing demands of her snobbish, conservative mother and sisters, her radical friends in the women’s rights movement, and an admirable but low-born chemist and his family. The Rebel of the Family also includes what is perhaps the first literary portrait of the late-Victorian lesbian community in London, featuring Bell Blount and her “little wife” Connie. This Broadview edition includes a critical introduction and appendices that help to set the work in its historical and literary contexts.
“Eliza Lynn Linton—the Victorian journalist, novelist, and fierce anti-feminist—could never decide whether she loved or hated being a woman. The Rebel of the Family—a strange, acidulous tale about a young woman striving (and failing) to break free from the sex-conventions of her day—is one of her most fascinating and tormented works. Linton put into it all of her own ferociously mixed feelings, and it remains, a century later, a mordant, rebarbative, yet peculiarly affecting work of art.” — Terry Castle, Stanford University
“Eliza Lynn Linton was one of Victorian England’s most outspoken critics of the ‘modern woman,’ even as her own independent, professional life so obviously bore out the importance of the struggle for women’s rights that her writings condemned. Linton’s life and work attest to complexities and contradictions of Victorian England’s debates on the woman question, and The Rebel of the Family (1880)—perhaps her most intriguing novel (including one of the earliest sketches of the mannish lesbian, and serving as a model for Henry James’s The Bostonians)—reflects these contradictions. This edition is a ‘must read’ for scholars of Victorian, gender, and women’s studies.” — Margaret Breen, University of Connecticut