A complicated, spectrum-like, highly variable phenomenon.

Today the Victorian era conjures the rigid gender roles of the ideology of separate domestic and public spheres, embodied in the sexual prudishness of Victorian women’s high-necked, floor-length black dresses. In striking contrast to this image, late nineteenth-century cell biologists and embryologists understood sex as a complicated, spectrum-like, and highly variable phenomenon. They were fascinated by the diversity of forms of sexual dimorphism and intersexuality in nature. (24)

From Richardson, Sarah. Sex Itself. Chicago: U Chicago P, 2013. Print.


The problem with choosing a provocative passage from The Age of Innocence is that the whole damn book is so thoroughly quotable and stirring.

“Women ought¬† to be free — as free as we are,” he declared, making a discovery of which he was too irritated to measure the terrific consequences. (41)

Newland Archer, in: Wharton, Edith. The Age of Innocence. New York: Quality Paperback Book Club, 1993. Print.