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Angel in the House

The Angel in the House was an idealization of womanhood embraced by Victorian society, especially the middle class. Its origins lie in the patriarchal belief that women, because of their sex, are reproductive and domestic beings. The term comes from Coventry Patmore's poem of the same title, published between 1854 and 1862, but the image of the domestic paragon who finds fulfillment and happiness in motherhood and family life was already well established by mid-century. Restricted to the home yet powerful through her moral influence, the Angel is a contradictory figure who reflects some of the challenges to women's social position in the Victorian period and beyond.

The domestic Angel emerges as loving, good and pure, always gentle, pious, submissive, and above all, selfless and self-sacrificing. ...

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