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Sensationalising the New Woman: Crossing the boundaries between sensation and New Woman literature

Mansfield, Katherine 2018. Sensationalising the New Woman: Crossing the boundaries between sensation and New Woman literature. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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My thesis seeks to conceptualise and explore the relationship between Sensation and New Woman fiction, two popular genres of the mid- to late-Victorian era, to investigate the extent to which Sensation literature is a forerunner to the early development of the New Woman novel; and consequently how the two genres blur, or cross, temporal and conceptual boundaries. Both genres challenged prevailing attitudes to gender, sexuality, morality and domesticity: Sensation fiction more implicitly by making the erstwhile Angel of the House the agent of domestic and marital upheaval and even crime, New Woman fiction explicitly by making the rebel of the house the rebel in society; here, she was more often positioned within the larger socio-economic setting for which her rebellion could have dramatic consequences. While previous comparisons of the two genres (although they are limited in number) have focused solely on the crossovers between the female protagonists, I seek to extend existing scholarship by investigating the relationship between Sensation and New Woman fiction through the two genres’ response to contemporary legal and social debates, the characters, both female and male, Gothic literature, a mode both genres revisited, and their subversive endings. I argue that it is in challenging Victorian ideologies that Sensation and New Woman literature obscure and, to a certain extent, redefine genre paradigms.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 March 2019
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2022 02:02

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