Women's Literary Portraits in the Victorian and Neo-Victorian Novel is a dialogical and intertextual journey through the pages of nineteenth-century novels and their modern, revisionary counterparts. It is the book not only dedicated to the readers associated with academia, but also to all literature enthusiasts, students of literature, and those readers who are fascinated by the Victorian novel, as well as by its current neo-Victorian revival. The focus of this work revolves around the literary portrayals of Victorian and neo-Victorian women who, as the authoress believes, are located in the centre of socio-cultural and historical narratives shaping both the past and the present. Nineteenth-century narratives concerning women's placement and status in the Victorian social landscape are currently revived on the pages of neo-Victorian novels, thus attesting to the unceasing interest in the bygone. While neo-Victorian revisionary fiction endows nineteenth-century women with a redemptive potential, it also exposes modern paradoxes and ambiguities connected with universal expectations towards women, what further approximates our contemporaneity to the Victorian past. While examining these socio-cultural ambivalences, the authoress celebrates Victorian and neo-Victorian women characters in their attempts to thrive as individuals. Consequently, the book studies Victorian and neo-Victorian women characters in relation to their identities, unique voices and textual garments.
Aleksandra Tryniecka is Assistant Professor at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, Poland, a children’s author and an illustrator.
Chapter One: Dialogue in Revisionary Fiction
Chapter Two: Intertextuality: Creating Theoretical Framework for a Literary Debate
Chapter Three: Intertextuality in Practice: Examining the Literary World
Chapter Four: The Novel Domesticated in the Victorian World
Chapter Five: The Victorian Novel and Social Debate
Chapter Six: Profits, Ideals, and the “Self”: Victorian Ambiguities Re-discovered in Literature
Chapter Seven: The Woman Question or Women Questions?
Chapter Eight: The Ethics of the Past and the Present: The Nineteenth Century Re-imagined in the Modern World
Chapter Nine: Beyond Nostalgia: Filling the Modern Culture with Victorianism
Chapter Ten: Women and Spiritual Revival
Chapter Eleven: Women and Family in the Neo-Victorian Novel
Part II: The Neo-Victorian Novel: Women Characters Re-introduced in Intertextual Dialogue
Chapter Twelve: The New Woman Restaged: The Madwoman in the Library and the Man in Ruskin’s Garden in Gail Carriger’s Soulless
Chapter Thirteen: Women and their Apparel in Victorian an Neo-Victorian Texts: Constructing Women Characters by Means of Fashion
Chapter Fourteen: Diving Deeper into Fashion: Clothes in Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White and in Gail Carriger’s Soulless
Chapter Fifteen: Voice and Identity in the Victorian and Neo-Victorian Novel: Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea and Clare Boylan’s Emma Brown
Chapter Sixteen: Nameless and Voiceless: Clare Boylan’s Emma Brown and Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea
Chapter Seventeen: Neo-Victorian Biofiction: Syrie James’ The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë and the Biography Retold
About the Author
This multifaceted study, devoted to the various representations of female characters in the Victorian and neo-Victorian novel, relates to the debate concerning the impact of cultural tradition on modern literature. It offers an intertextual approach to female protagonists in such novels as Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847), Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White (1859), Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea (1966), Clare Boylan’s Emma Brown (2003), Syrie James’ The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë (2009) and Gail Carriger’s Soulless (2009). Applying various aspects of literary theory, Aleksandra Tryniecka focuses in her book on the portrait of the woman in Victorian society as emerging from the intertextual dialogue of the present with the past.
In its range and originality, this excellent book will appeal to both academically-minded bibliophiles and to those who are just avid readers of Victorian and neo-Victorian literature.