Northern Illinois University Press

Gender and Discourse in Victorian Literature and Art

Edited by Antony H. Harrison and Beverly Taylor

This collection of original essays offers a broad and varied discussion of gender issues and treatments of sexuality in Victorian poetry, fiction, and visual arts. Featuring a representative selection of artists—poets, novelists, painters, sculptors, playwrights, and dancers—these critical analyses explore the ways in which women as artists, as subjects, and as icons function either to challenge and revise or to reify their society's gender ideologies.

Enhanced by a diversity of approaches, the collection introduces revisionist readings of well-known literary works and examines interconnections between literature and the visual arts. In the first two parts, which address Victorian poetry and fiction, the readings illuminate previously unexplained features of poems and novels by such writers as Alfred Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Matthew Arnold, Christina Rossetti, A. C. Swinburne, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Anne Brontë, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Hardy, Kate Chopin, and Oscar Wilde. The third part of the collection focuses on the themes of gender conventions and subversions that occur in visual representations—paintings and cartoons, sculpture and architectural reliefs, drama, opera, and music-hall dance.

Rather than presenting literature and art as self-contained, the collection advances the assumption that creative works participate in a larger ideological current of society. Thus, where relevant, the contributors reference politics, economics, science, and other modes of cultural discourse. Such an approach retrieves the historical contexts surrounding the production and reception of the poetry, fiction, and visual arts examined.

(1992) 304 pp., 16 illus.
ISBN: 978-0-87580-168-1
cloth $38.50

Table of Contents

Antony H. Harrison and Beverly Taylor: Introduction
Beverly Taylor
"School-Miss Alfred" and "Materfamilias": Female Sexuality and Poetic Voice in The Princess and Aurora Leigh
Mary Ellis Gibson
Dialogue on the Darkling Plain: Genre, Gender, and Audience in Matthew Arnold's Lyrics
Deborah A. Hooker
Ambiguous Bodies: Keats and the Problem of Resurrection in Tennyson's "Demeter and Persephone"
Diane D'Amico
"Equal before God": Christina Rossetti and the Fallen Women of Highgate Penitentiary
Thaďs E. Morgan
Violence, Creativity, and the Feminine: Poetics and Gender Politics in Swinburne and Hopkins
Elizabeth Langland
The Voicing of Feminine Desire in Anne Brontë's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Deirdre David
Children of Empire: Victorian Imperialism and Sexual Politics in Dickens and Kipling
Alison Booth
Not All Men Are Selfish and Cruel: Felix Holt as a Feminist Novel
William W. Morgan
Gender and Silence in Thomas Hardy's Texts
Antony H. Harrison
Swinburne and the Critique of Ideology in The Awakening
Susan P. Casteras
"The Necessity of a Name": Portrayals and Betrayals of Victorian Women Artists
George P. Landow
Margaret M. Giles's Hero and the Sublime Female Nude
Amy Koritz
Salomé: Exotic Woman and the Transcendent Dance

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ISBN: 978-0-87580-168-1
cloth $38.50