Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Lonely Nineteenth Century: Loneliness and the Female Protagonist in the Victorian Novel
by Hendry, Marie, Ph.D., University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2014, 116; 3687686
Abstract (Summary)

Due to the prolific nature of the lonely heroine in nineteenth-century novels, it can be argued that loneliness becomes a trope that informs readers about the issues facing women across all social classes during the Victorian era. To develop loneliness as a trope, this dissertation analyzes how Charlotte Brontë's Villette (1853), Anne Brontë's Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848), George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss (1860), Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1892), Florence Marryat's The Blood of the Vampire (1897) and Ella Hepworth Dixon's The Story of a Modern Woman (1894) use loneliness to address women's issues and the need for social change. I will analyze how these authors portray female protagonists experiencing loneliness and how this expression becomes a vehicle for a discussion of women's roles. To focus my analysis, I will explore the characterization of female protagonists and how the characters' different attitudes affect the ideas surrounding loneliness and how they display an acute awareness of their lack of agency. Finally, this exploration of lack of agency is communicated through a connection of loneliness and consequences for women forced into gender specific roles as important to understanding the fin de siècle.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: DeVine, Christine
Commitee: Geer, Jennifer, Stetco, Dayana
School: University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Department: English
School Location: United States -- Louisiana
Source: DAI-A 76/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Womens studies, British and Irish literature
Keywords: Victorian
Publication Number: 3687686
ISBN: 978-1-321-65562-9
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