Re-Imagining the Victorian Woman: Female Representations in Four Neo-Victorian Novels from 1990 to 2010
Sammanfattning: Neo-Victorian literature is a subgenre of historical fiction that is set during the reign of Queen Victoria, from 1837 until 1901. There are divergent opinions on the emergence of the genre; however, the time frame established in this dissertation spans from 1990 until the present moment. One of the principal characteristic of neo-Victorian novels is that through their Victorian setting they display their involvement with contemporary issues. Such an engagement can be expressed in a variety of ways, yet a common approach involves a reimagining of marginalized voices. This paper will focus on representations of real and fictitious Victorian women in four neo-Victorian novels: Sarah Waters' Tipping the Velvet(1998); Belinda Starling's The Journal of Dora Damage (2006); Jude Morgan's Charlotte and Emily: A novel of the Brontës (2010); and A.S. Byatt's Possession: A Romance (1990). The analysis of each novel is divided into three parts, which focus on authorship/autobiography, sexuality, as well as independence and occupation. This division seems to both highlight similarities between the novels, as well as draw attention to their differences. Through an emphasis on issues regarding a large group, that was generally repressed during the Victorian era, it is revealed that contrary to the statements of certain critics, neo-Victorian texts are more critical than nostalgic towards their historical setting.
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