The Angel in the House and The Woman in White: The Unfolding and Decoding of a Victorian Stereotype

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Abstract: Modern readers frequently perceive female characters in Victorian novels as insipid and inane, blaming the static portrayals on the angel in the house stereotype attributed to Coventry Patmore's poem of the same name. The stereotype does not accurately reflect the actual Victorian woman's life, however. Examining how the stereotype evolved and how the middle-class Mid-Victorian woman really lived provides insight into literary devices authors employed either to reinforce the angel ideal or to reconcile the ideal with the real. Wilkie Collins's portrayal of Marian Halcombe in The Woman in White features a dynamic female who has both androgynous characteristics ... continued below

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iii, 108 leaves

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Spencer, Sandra L. August 1991.

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  • Spencer, Sandra L.

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Abstract: Modern readers frequently perceive female characters in Victorian novels as insipid and inane, blaming the static portrayals on the angel in the house stereotype attributed to Coventry Patmore's poem of the same name. The stereotype does not accurately reflect the actual Victorian woman's life, however. Examining how the stereotype evolved and how the middle-class Mid-Victorian woman really lived provides insight into literary devices authors employed either to reinforce the angel ideal or to reconcile the ideal with the real. Wilkie Collins's portrayal of Marian Halcombe in The Woman in White features a dynamic female who has both androgynous characteristics and angel-in-the-house qualities, exemplifying one more paradox in a society riddled with contradictions.

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iii, 108 leaves

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  • August 1991

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  • March 9, 2015, 8:15 a.m.

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  • May 11, 2018, 10:29 p.m.

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Spencer, Sandra L. The Angel in the House and The Woman in White: The Unfolding and Decoding of a Victorian Stereotype, thesis, August 1991; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc500620/: accessed July 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .