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Wandering Women: Sexual and Social Stigma in the Mid-Victorian Novel

Description: The changing role of women was arguably the most fundamental area of concern and crisis in the Victorian era. Recent scholarship has done much to illuminate the evolving role of women, particularly in regard to the development of the New Woman. I propose that there is an intermediary character type that exists between Coventry Patmore's "angel of the house" and the New Woman of the fin de siecle. I call this character the Wandering Woman. This new archetypal character adheres to the following list of characteristics: she is a literal or figurative orphan, is genteelly poor or of the working class, is pursued by a rogue who offers financial security in return for sexual favors; this sexual liaison, unsanctified by marriage, causes her to be stigmatized in the eyes of society; and her stigmatization results in expulsion from society and enforced wandering through a literal or figurative wilderness. There are three variations of this archetype: the child-woman as represented by the titular heroine of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Little Nell of Charles Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop; the sexual deviant as represented by Miss Wade of Dickens' Little Dorrit; and the fallen woman as represented by the titular heroine of Thomas Hardy' Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Hetty Sorrel of George Eliot's Adam Bede, and Lady Dedlock of Dickens' Bleak House. Although the Wandering Woman's journey may resemble a variation of the bildungsroman tradition, it is not, because unlike male characters in this genre, women have limited opportunities. Wandering Women always carry a stigma because of their "illicit" sexual relationship, are isolated because of this, and never experience a sense of fun or adventure during their journey. The Wandering Woman suffers permanent damage to her reputation, as well as to her emotional welfare, because she has been unable to conform ...
Date: August 2000
Creator: Jackson, Lisa Hartsell
Partner: UNT Libraries

Questioning Voices: Dissention and Dialogue in the Poetry of Emily and Anne Brontë

Description: My dissertation examines the roles of Emily and Anne Brontë as nineteenth-century women poets, composing in a literary form dominated by androcentric language and metaphor. The work of Mikhail Bakhtin, particularly concerning spoken and implied dialogue, and feminists who have pioneered an exploration of feminist dialogics provide crucial tools for examining the importance and uses of the dialogic form in the development of a powerful and creative feminine voice. As such, I propose to view Emily's Gondal poetry not as a series of loosely connected monologues, but as utterances in an inner dialogue between the dissenting and insistent female voice and the authoritative voice of the non-Gondal world. Emily's identification with her primary heroine, Augusta, enables her to challenge the controlling voice of the of the patriarchy that attempts to dictate and limit her creative and personal expression. The voice of Augusta in particular expresses the guilt, shame, and remorse that the woman-as-author must also experience when attempting to do battle with the patriarchy that attempts to restrict and reshape her utterances. While Anne was a part of the creation of Gondal, using it to mask her emotions through sustained dialogue with those who enabled and inspired such feelings, her interest in the mythical kingdom soon waned. However, it is in the dungeons and prisons of Gondal and within these early poems that Anne's distinct voice emerges and enters into a dialogue with her readers, her sister, and herself. The interior dialogues that her heroines engage in become explorations of the choices that Anne feels she must make as a woman within both society and the boundaries of her religious convictions. Through dialogue with the church, congregation, and religious doctrine, she attempts to relieve herself of the guilt of female creativity and justify herself and her creations through religious orthodoxy. ...
Date: August 2000
Creator: Kalkwarf, Tracy Lin
Partner: UNT Libraries

Jezebel's Daughters: A Study of Wilkie Collins and His Female Villains

Description: The term "feminist," when applied to Wilkie Collins, implies he was concerned with rectifying the oppression of women in domestic life as well as with promoting equal rights between the sexes. This study explores Collins the "feminist" by analyzing his portrayals of women, particularly his most powerful feminine creations: his villainesses. Although this focus is somewhat limited, it allows for a detailed analysis of the development of Collins's attitudes towards powerful women from the beginning to the end of his career. It examines the relationship between Collins's developing moral attitudes and social beliefs, on the one hand, and the ideas of Victorian feminists such as Josephine Butler and feminist sympathizers such as John Stuart Mill, on the other. This interaction, while never overt, reveals the ambivalence and complexity of Collins's "feminist" attitudes. Of the five novels in this study, Antonina (1850), Basil (1852), Armadale (1866), Jezebel's Daughter (1880), and The Legacy of Cain (1889), only one was published at the zenith of Collins's career in the 1860s. Each of the villainesses in these novels, their ideas and experiences, are crucial to understanding Collins's "feminist" impulses. Looking at them as powerful women who detest domestic oppression, one becomes aware that Collins feared such powerful women. But at the same time, he found something fiercely attractive about them. One also realizes that he was never fully capable of breaking the prevailing literary conventions which dictated that wickedness be punished and virtue rewarded (The Legacy of Cain is perhaps an exception, depending on how one views Helena's feminist revolution). The reading of Collins's novels offered in this study presents a broad, eclectic approach, utilizing the tenets of a number of different theoretical approaches such as new historicism, psychoanalytic criticism, and deconstruction, as well as feminist criticism. It contextualizes Collins's novels and his "feminist" ...
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Date: August 2000
Creator: Colvin, Trey Vincent
Partner: UNT Libraries

Stretched Out On Her Grave: The Evolution of a Perversion

Description: The word "necrophilia" brings a particular definition readily to mind – that of an act of sexual intercourse with a corpse, probably a female corpse at that. But the definition of the word did not always have this connotation; quite literally the word means "love of the dead," or "a morbid attraction to death." An examination of nineteenth-century literature reveals a gradual change in relationships between the living and the dead, culminating in the sexualized representation of corpses at the close of the century. The works examined for necrophilic content are: Mary Wollstonecraft’s Mary, A Fiction, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula and The Jewel of Seven Stars.
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Date: August 2000
Creator: Angel-Cann, Lauryn
Partner: UNT Libraries

Wayward Women, Virtuous Violence: Feminine Violence in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century British Literature by Women

Description: This dissertation examines the role of "acceptable" feminine violence in Restoration and eighteenth-century drama and fiction. Scenes such as Lady Davers's physical assault on Pamela in Samuel Richardson's Pamela (1740) have understandably troubled recent scholars of gender and literature. But critics, for the most part, have been more inclined to discuss women as victims of violence than as agents of violence. I argue that women in the Restoration and eighteenth century often used violence in order to maintain social boundaries, particularly sexual and economic ones, and that writers of the period drew upon this tradition of acceptable feminine violence in order to create the figure of the violent woman as a necessary agent of social control. One such figure is Violenta, the heroine of Delarivier Manley's novella The Wife's Resentment (1720), who murders and dismembers her bigamous husband. At her trial, Violenta is condemned to death "notwithstanding the Pity of the People" and "the Intercession of the Ladies," who believe that although the "unexampled Cruelty [Violenta] committed afterwards on the dead Body" was excessive, the murder itself is not inexcusable given her husband's bigamy. My research draws upon diverse archival materials, such as conduct manuals, criminal biographies, and legal records, in order to provide a contextual grounding for the interpretation of literary works by women. Moving between contemporary accounts of feminine violence and discussions of pertinent literary works by Eliza Haywood, Susanna Centlivre, Delarivier Manley, Aphra Behn, Mary Pix, and Jane Wiseman, the dissertation examines issues of interpersonal violence and communal violence committed by women.
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Date: May 2000
Creator: Collins, Margo
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Development of a Critical Standard for the Novel in Fraser's Magazine, 1830-1850

Description: This thesis is concerned with establishing the nature of the critical standard which Fraser's Magazine, a Victorian journal, used in evaluating the artistic merit of current English novels. Eminent critics such as William Thackeray, Thomas Carlyle, and William Maginn were associated with the magazine during its early years of publication: thus, the early numbers contain some of its most valuable criticism. Because the English novel was in a period of transition in the decade of the 1840's and the years immediately preceding and following it, this study is confined to the twenty-year period from I830 to 1850. Imitative writers of romance and novels of manners were gradually being replaced with novelists concerned with social reform and with the artistic merit of the genre itself. Thackeray's and Maginn's associations with the magazine also occurred during this period, and their literary opinions are an important indication of the magazine's critical development.
Date: December 1972
Creator: Lively, Cheryl L.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Myth in Alan Sillitoe's Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

Description: The purpose of this thesis is to point out the three levels of mythic structure contained in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, a novel published in 1958 by the British novelist Alan Sillitoe. The novel has been criticized almost solely in its role as a work dealing exclusively with the English proletariat; the critics have ignored mythic content in the novel, and in doing so have missed valuable meaning and structure which each myth adds to the novel.
Date: December 1970
Creator: Wright, Vicki Prather
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Politics of Poverty: George Orwell's "Down and Out in Paris and London"

Description: "Down and Out in Paris and London" is typically perceived as non-political. Orwell's first book, it examines his life with the poor in two cities. Although on the surface "Down and Out" seems not to be about politics, Orwell covertly conveys a political message. This is contrary to popular critical opinion. What most critics fail to acknowledge is that Orwell wrote for a middle- and upper-class audience, showing a previously unseen view of the poor. In this he suggests change to the policy makers who are able to bring about improvements for the impoverished. "Down and Out" is often ignored by both critics and readers of Orwell. With an examination of Orwell's politicizing background, and of the way he chooses to present himself and his poor characters in "Down and Out," I argue that the book is both political and characteristic of Orwell's later work.
Date: May 1992
Creator: Perkins, Marianne
Partner: UNT Libraries

Alcoholism and the Family: The Destructive Forces in Hardy's Tess of the D'urbervilles

Description: This study examines the forces which shaped the main character--Tess Durbeyfield--in Hardy's novel in terms of the effects which her alcoholic family had upon her mental and emotional potential and which ultimately become the determining factors in her self-destruction. Using the elements and patterns set forth in the literature regarding the dynamics of the alcoholic family, I attempt to show that Hardy's novel may best be understood as the story of a woman whose life and destiny are controlled by the consequences of her father's alcoholism. This interpretation seems to account best for many elements of the novel, such as Tess's destruction, and provides a rich appreciation of Hardy's technique and vision.
Date: December 1992
Creator: Alexander, Elizabeth Chenoweth
Partner: UNT Libraries

Wuthering Heights: A Proto-Darwinian Novel

Description: Wuthering Heights was significantly shaped by the pre-Darwinian scientific debate in ways that look ahead to Darwin's evolutionary theory more than a decade later. Wuthering Heights represents a cultural response to new and disturbing ideas. Darwin's enterprise was scientific; Emily Brontë's poetic. Both, however, were seeking to find ways to express their vision of the nature of human beings. The language and metaphors of Wuthering Heights suggest that Emily Brontë's vision was, in many ways, similar to Darwin's.
Date: August 1993
Creator: Bhattacharya, Sumangala
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Bifurcated Personalities of Christina Rossetti and Dante Gabriel Rossetti as Reflected in Their "Sister Poems"

Description: Christina Rossetti and Dante Gabriel Rossetti both suffered from ambivalent feelings concerning the role female sexuality plays in the salvation of the soul. These ambivalent feelings ranged from seeing female sexuality as leading men to salvation, to seeing it as a trap for the destruction of women's souls as well as men's. The contradictory feelings of the Rossettis' typifies the Victorian people's experience and was caused by the nature of the times. Using the analysis of the period by Walter E. Houghton in The Victorian Frame of Mind: 1830-1870, this paper describes the affect the Victorians' religious zeal, their "moral earnestness," and their "woman-worship" had on the two Rossetti poets.
Date: December 1988
Creator: Becherer, Nadine L. (Nadine Lee)
Partner: UNT Libraries

When Johnny Comes Marching Home: A Novel

Description: "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" is a novel that focuses upon the severe emotional trauma of a young boy coping with his father's death. For Johnny Freeman, the seemingly innocent setting of a typical American elementary school becomes a dangerous psychological battlefield, his most threatening "enemy" being his teacher, Miss Holloway, a first-year instructor beginning her career with only textbook knowledge and stubborn determination. Johnny Freeman and Miss Holloway clash the first day of school and set into motion a war of minds, wills, and emotions. Neither will relent; each is driven for various complex reasons to dominate the other. Their personalities demand that only one of them will emerge as the winner in this struggle, creating a psychological fight for survival with terrifying and deadly consequences for the loser.
Date: August 1992
Creator: McCreary, Keith
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Feminist Trollope: Hero(in)es in The Warden and Barchester Towers

Description: Although Anthony Trollope has traditionally been considered an anti-feminist author, studies within the past decade have shown that Trollope's later novels show support for female power and sympathy for Victorian women who were dissatisfied with their narrow roles in society. A feminist reading of two of his earliest novels, The Warden and Barchester Towers, shows that Trollope's feminism is not limited to his later works. In The Warden, Trollope acclaims female power and "woman's logic" through female characters and the womanly warden, Septimus Harding. In Barchester Towers, Trollope continues to support feminism through his positive portrayals of strong, independent women and the androgynous Harding. In Barchester Towers, the battle of the sexes ends in a balance of power.
Date: August 1992
Creator: Kohn, Denise Marie
Partner: UNT Libraries

The London Novels of Colin MacInnes

Description: The novels that compose Colin MacInnes's London trilogy, City_ of Spades, Absolute Beginners, and Mr. Love and Justice, are concerned with British society as it has evolved since World War II. By depicting certain "outsiders," MacInnes illustrates a basic cause of social unrest: the average Britisher is blind to societal changes resulting from the war. Most citizens mistreat the African immigrants, allow their children to be exploited by the few adults who realize the buying power of the postwar youth, and remain oblivious to crime, even among their own police force. Though the novels are social documentaries, they are also valuable as literature. MacInnes's exceptional powers of description, together with his facility with language in general, contribute to the trilogy's merit as a compelling exploration of the human condition.
Date: May 1979
Creator: Greene, Sarah Lee
Partner: UNT Libraries

Protect Her . . . Protect Yourself: a Novel

Description: Tom Randolph, the narrator of this short novel, is a recently divorced university instructor. The setting of the novel is inner-city Dallas, where Tom has leased an apartment after leaving his suburban home. Frustrated by a tenacious affection for his former wife Sharon and disgust at her remarriage to a drunken ranch laborer, Tom marries a muddled eighteen-year-old girl, .Faye. When Faye is abducted, Tom assents to Sharon's request to return to him. Tom buries an unrecognizable corpse he thinks is Faye, and Sharon's new "husband" (a bigamist) is killed in a brawl. After Tom and Sharon's remarriage, Faye reappears as a street-corner missionary.
Date: August 1979
Creator: Kerbaugh, Jim Lawrence
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Decay of Romanticism in the Poetry of Thomas Hardy

Description: The purpose of this study is to demonstrate that the concept of a godless universe governed by a consciousless and conscienceless Immanent Will in Hardy's poetry is an ineluctable outcome, given the expanded scientific knowledge of the nineteenth century, of the pantheistic views of the English Romantic poets. The purpose is accomplished by tracing characteristically Romantic attitudes through the representative poetry of the early Victorian period and in Hardy's poetry. The first chapter is a brief introduction. Chapter II surveys major Romantic themes, illustrating them in Wordsworth's poetry. Chapter III treats the decline of the Romantic vision in the poetry of Tennyson and Arnold. Hardy's views and the Victorian poets' influence are the subject of Chapter IV. Chapter V demonstrates Wordsworth's influence on Hardy in several areas.
Date: December 1978
Creator: Wartes, Carolynn L.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Novelist as Critic: Thackeray's Concept of the Novel

Description: This study is primarily concerned with the formulation of Thackeray's theory of the novel through a thorough investigation of his various reviews and critiques of Victorian fiction which appeared in periodicals and by a careful examination of his letters, By evaluating the numerous comments on particular works of fiction and on the art of "novel-spinning" in general which came from Thackeray's pen, this study investigates the various Thackerayan ideas as to how novels should be written with regard to the function of the novel, the formulation of plot and character, realism and morality, the presentation of description, and the style in which novels were to be written. This investigation concludes that Thackeray's theory of the novel was that novels were to be written in a simple, straightforward style and were to present "living" characters who performed realistic, believable actions within tightly unified, logical plots in such a manner as to provide entertainment and to reaffirm the Victorian moral code.
Date: August 1976
Creator: Worden, Larry L.
Partner: UNT Libraries

West African Journal: A Travel Account

Description: West African Journal: A Travel Account is a narrative of the author's trip in twelve West African countries. In the first chapter the author describes her previous travels and preparations for this trip and introduces her husband. She begins the second chapter with a discussion of the benefits and hardships of independent travel and describes the hotels, restaurants, forms of transportation, and difficulties with language. The remainder of Chapter II is a close account of the first sixteen days of travel. The narrative continues chronologically in Chapters III through VIII. Each chapter pertains to a distinct stage of the trip. In Chapter IX, the author reviews her personal accomplishments during the journey, relates her and her husband's reactions on their return to the U.S., and concludes with some evocative descriptions of West Africa.
Date: December 1980
Creator: Hudson, Jacquelyn Fuller
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Comparative Analysis of the Educational Theories of Charles Dickens and John Holt

Description: The purpose of this study is to determine. whether Charles Dickens's educational theories in England during the nineteenth century are conclusively juxtaposed to John Holt's educational theories in America during the twentieth century. Chapter One introduces the proposition and states the general nature of the discussion in -subsequent chapters. Chapter Two presents a history of economic conditions in nineteenth-century England and shows how its evolution influenced Dickens's educational theories. Chapter Three discusses the economic conditions in twentieth-century America, the moral crisis- and its affect on youth, and Holt's theories of how children fail and how they learn. Chapter Four synthesizes Dickens's and Holt's -theories and establishes that their philosophies and aims in the field of education are closely juxtaposed.
Date: May 1974
Creator: Milner, Loreta Sue
Partner: UNT Libraries

Three Original Short Stories and a Critical Analysis

Description: This thesis is composed of three original short stories and a critical analysis of them. "Tricentennial Seaweed Stories: is a comic tale of the future, set in twenty-first century America. "Cousins" is concerned with the conflicting religious views of three young adults. "A Vacation in Utah" examines the psychological and social pressures which bring the protagonist near to committing homicide. The first story is narrated in an omniscient voice, the second in an objective voice, and the last in first person. The critical analysis examines the fictional elements in the stories, including plot, character development, theme, and narrative point of view. This analysis expresses an opinion upon the degree of success achieved in each short story in terms of style and content.
Date: August 1979
Creator: Hill, Billy Bob
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Analysis of Conflicts in Mrs. Gaskell's "North and South"

Description: Both contemporary and modern critics recognize the industrial, regional, and personal conflicts in North and South. There are, however, other conflicts which Mrs. Gaskell treats and resolves. This study emphasizes inner struggles resulting from repressive Victorian sexual mores. An examination of conflicts at a deeper -level than has previously been attempted clarifies motivations of individual characters, reveals a conscious and unconscious pattern within the novel and gives a fuller appreciation of Mrs. Gaskell's psychological insight. Included for discussion are examples of the Victorian feminine stereotype and the use of religion as sexual sublimation. A major portion of the paper concerns the growth of the heroine, Margaret Hale, from repressed sexuality to an acceptance of womanhood in Victorian society.
Date: May 1976
Creator: Brown, Kathleen B.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Moral Training for Nature's Egotists: Mentoring Relationships in George Eliot's Fiction

Description: George Eliot's fiction is filled with mentoring relationships which generally consist of a wise male mentor and a foolish, egotistic female mentee. The mentoring narratives relate the conversion of the mentee from narcissism to selfless devotion to the community. By retaining the Christian value of self-abnegation and the Christian tendency to devalue nature, Eliot, nominally a secular humanist who abandoned Christianity, reveals herself still to be a covert Christian. In Chapter 1 I introduce the moral mentoring theme and provide background material. Chapter 2 consists of an examination of Felix Holt, which clearly displays Eliot's crucial dichotomy: the moral is superior to the natural. In Chapter 3 I present a Freudian analysis of Gwendolen Harleth, the mentee most fully developed. In Chapter 4 I examine two early mentees, who differ from later mentees primarily in that they are not egotists and can be treated with sympathy. Chapter 5 covers three gender-modified relationships. These relationships show contrasting views of nature: in the Dinah Morris-Hetty Sorrel narrative, like most of the others, Eliot privileges the transcendence of nature. The other two, Mary Garth-Fred Vincy and Dolly Winthrop-Silas Marner, are exceptions as Eliot portrays in them a Wordsworthian reconciliation with nature. In Chapter 6 I focus on Maggie Tulliver, a mentee with three failed mentors and two antimentors. Maggie chooses regression over growth as symbolized by her drowning death in her brother's arms. In Chapter 7 I examine Middlemarch, whose lack of a successful standard mentoring relationship contributes to its dark vision. Chapter 8 contains a reading of Romola which interprets Romola, the only mentee whose story takes place outside nineteenth-century England, as a feminist fantasy for Eliot. Chapter 9 concludes the discussion, focusing primarily on the question why the mentoring theme was so compelling for George Eliot. In the Appendix I examine ...
Date: August 2001
Creator: Schweers, Ellen H.
Partner: UNT Libraries