As Margaret Oliphant argues, the terms in which "superfluous" women are discussed in Victorian discourse are very telling. In her analysis, the "problem" with unmarried women was not in they themselves but in their treatment by the many who held opinions on the matter.
–Rita Kranidis, The Victorian Spinster and Colonial Emigration: Contested Subjects, p. 42
I need information about the cultural perspectives on and opportunities open to unmarried Victorian women, since Mary, whose diary I transcribed, remained single all her life [1864-1938]. Thus I’m reading the aforementioned title, about the massive export of single British women to British colonies, holdings and territories in the Victorian era.
While a lot of this book concentrates on how both the women and the colonies are equally portrayed as dangerous goods to be literally marginalized so that they can benefit the center [= Great Britain], some of it is relevant. I need a general discussion of the middle/late Victorian views on unmarried women; this book is not a foundational source of information, but it’s a good supplement to those I have already amassed.
His rebus dictis, what is going on in that second sentence I quoted?!! "The problem…was not in THEY themselves?!" It should be "them themselves." I assume Kranidis was overcompensating for the odd-sounding semi-redundancy of "them themselves," but gah! She’s a scholar! With editors! Either she or her editors should have caught this mistake.
I loathe hypercorrections such as these, cases where people mistakenly use subjects instead of objects because they think the subjects sound more formal and correct. Even Barack Obama, despite being The Shining Prince Of Hope Who Will Bring Peace, Prosperity And Hypoallergenic Shelter Puppies For All, perpetrates such language abuses. In a press conference on November 7th, he said, "Well, President Bush graciously invited Michelle and I to — to meet with him and first lady Laura Bush." NOOOOO, it’s supposed to be "Michelle and me!" I hate it when people can’t grammatify correctly.