Ambivalence in Victorian women’s writing: Ellen Wood’s East Lynne, Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret, Margaret Oliphant’s Hester

Download
2014
Coşar Çelik, Seda
The simultaneous rise of Victorian women’s movement and the dominance of female authorship and readership in the nineteenth century prompted scholars of Victorian literature to interpret women’s novels as fictional examples of Victorian feminism or anti-feminism. Yet, this study stresses the ambivalent nature of women’s fiction by paying attention to the contradiction between the feminist and subversive content in women’s texts and their anti-feminist and disciplinary treatment. Exemplary underread novels from two opposing literary genres are examined in detail: Ellen Wood’s East Lynne (1861), Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret (1862), as representative samples of the sensation genre and Margaret Oliphant’s Hester (1883), as an anti-sensational domestic novel. Close readings of these novels and the examination of additional non-fiction writings by Margaret Oliphant demonstrate that (1) Victorian women’s writings cannot be clustered as feminist or anti-feminist, they represent a bifurcated voice due to the disciplinary power that operate on different levels and with varying effects both in the novels (through characterization, plot formation, narrative voice and perspective) and among the texts, the genres and the novelists, (2) the moralizing reading experience can turn into a tool of controlling and disciplining Victorian women readers (3) although the generic conventions of both the sensation novel and the domestic novel proceed to the disadvantage of the heroine, the ways of disciplining in both genres are different. The sensational narratives display severe and grievous forms of disciplining while the disciplinary power of domestic narratives is subtle, milder and less transparent.

Suggestions

Abject representations of female desire in postmodern British female gothic fiction
Aktari, Selen; İçöz, Nursel; Department of English Literature (2010)
The aim of this dissertation is to study postmodern British Female Gothic fiction in terms of its abject representations of female desire which subvert the patriarchal definition of female sexuality as repressed and female identity as the object of desire. The study analyzes texts from postmodern Female Gothic fiction which are feminist rewritings of the traditional Gothic narratives. The conventional Gothic plot is based on the Oedipal development of identity which excludes the (m)other and deprives the fe...
Mythmaking in progress: plays by women on female writers and literary characters
Uçar Özbirinci, Pürnur; Çileli, Fatma Meral; Department of English Literature (2007)
This thesis analyzes the process of women’s mythmaking in the plays written by female playwrights. Through writing the lives of female writers and rewriting the literary characters, which have been created by male writers, the women playwrights assume the role of a mythmaker. A mythmaker possesses the power to use the ‘word,’ thereby possesses the power to control ‘reality.’ However, for centuries, women have been debarred from generating their own myths, naming their own experiences, and controlling their ...
History of the novel in stories of femininity: Moll flanders, Evelina and Fordyce’s sermons /
Kaya, Tuğba Billur; Yıldız Bağçe, Hülya; Department of English Literature (2015)
In this study the rise of the English novel is investigated from the perspective of Nancy Armstrong’s Desire and Domestic Fiction which put forward that the novel genre emerged out of the conduct books of seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Within this scope two of the first English novels Moll Flanders (1742) by Daniel Defoe and Evelina (1778) by Frances Burney will be studied side-by-side by comparing their plots with one of the most popular conduct books of the era: Fordyce’s Sermons. The study aims to...
The Function of the fantastic in the works of Angela Carter and Jeanette Winterson
Özyurt Kılıç, Mine; İçöz, Nursel; Department of English Literature (2005)
This study sets out from the premise that the fantastic, in the hands of the women writers with feminist awareness,can be used as a tool to subvert patriarchal gender roles that are culturally constructed. The dissertation aims at analysing the fantastic novels by Angela Carter, The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman and Nights at the Circus, and by Jeannette Winterson, The Passion and The.PowerBook as examples in which the transgression of gender roles is achieved through the use of fantastic image...
Perpetuation of the gay male stereotype: a study on camping & closeting the gay male subculture in Hollinghurst's fiction
Ertin, Serkan; Birlik, Nurten; Department of English Literature (2011)
This study intends to analyse the terms camp and closet in Alan Hollinghurst’s fiction, since all four of his novels - The Swimming-Pool Library (1988), The Folding Star (1993), The Spell (1998), and The Line of Beauty (2004) - investigate the gay male experience throughout the late-twentieth century The point in analysing these terms in Hollinghurst’s work is to find out whether the author writes from the margin or in the centre to recreate the origin. Gay subjectivities are of great concern to this study,...
Citation Formats
S. Coşar Çelik, “Ambivalence in Victorian women’s writing: Ellen Wood’s East Lynne, Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret, Margaret Oliphant’s Hester,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2014.