Neither Mary nor Magdalen: the fallen woman, the dramatic monologue, and the nineteenth-century woman poet

Martin, Nancy Marie (2011) Neither Mary nor Magdalen: the fallen woman, the dramatic monologue, and the nineteenth-century woman poet. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This study seeks to expand our understanding of the nineteenth-century fallen woman through an exploration of the ways in which she is represented in a small selection of dramatic poetry written by women who were directly involved with fallen women, either through reclamation work, or through social and political writing. The overarching premise of this study is that these female poets-Dora Greenwell (1821-1888), Augusta Webster (1837-1894), and Mathilde Blind (1841-1896)-chose to represent the fallen woman in ways that challenged dominant conventions. Their poetry suggests that neither the arguments for reclamation-redemption through religious and domestic teaching-nor those for condemnation are adequate, as both are grounded in discourses that have more basis in myth than in reality. Rather, their fallen woman poetry, by focusing on the material conditions of fallen women themselves, illuminates the fallen woman's position and circumstance as complex and contingent and in so doing, challenges the fallen woman archetype. Their dramatic monologues, published in 1861, 1870, and 1891 respectively, function collectively in depicting not the voice of the fallen woman, but of fallen women.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 9559
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 112-119.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Gender Studies
Date: 2011
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Greenwell, Dora, 1821-1882--Poetic works; Webster, Augusta, 1837-1894--Poetic works; Blind, Mathilde, 1841-1896--Poetic works; Greenwell, Dora, 1821-1882--Characters--Women; Webster, Augusta, 1837-1894--Characters--Women; Blind, Mathilde, 1841-1896--Characters--Women; Prostitutes in literature; English poetry--19th century--History and criticism; Seduction in literature

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