Explaining the Depiction of Violence Against Women in Victorian Literature: Applying Julia Kristeva's Theory of Abjection to Dickens, Bronte, and Brad

Explaining the Depiction of Violence Against Women in Victorian Literature: Applying Julia Kristeva's Theory of Abjection to Dickens, Bronte, and Brad

By: Karen E Tatum (author)Hardback

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Description

This book examines the causes of the abject response in canonical novels, such as Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist", Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre", and Mary Elizabeth Braddon's "Aurora Floyd" and Lady Audley's "Secret". In "Powers of Horror", Julia Kristeva outlines her theory of abjection as a simultaneous fascination and horror stemming from sensorial reminders of the subject's primal, psychological relation to the mother. The author suggests that these psychological perspectives can potentially result in acts of physical violence, which are called "abject response". By developing Julia Kristeva's theory of abjection as a model for reading physical acts of violence against women, the book yields specific answers to its overriding questions: why was a female body so threatening in nineteenth-century fiction? The answer lies in social constructions of women as powers of horror, which the male subject imbibes and which lead to domestic violence if improperly balanced. In addition, the book examines critical interpretations, including those of feminists, which also inadvertently abject the female body. By examining parallel abjections in nineteenth-century novels and twentieth-century criticism, this books reveals the more insidious remnants of Victorian ideology in our present culture, as well as the ways in which these remnants inadvertently perpetuate domestic violence. Thus, this book should engage scholars and students of the Victorian period, women's studies, and feminist theory.

About Author

Karen Elizabeth Tatum received her Ph.D. from the University of Houston and is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Contents

Preface; 1. Hollowing Out Abjection; 2. "Something Covered with an Old Blanket" Nancy and Other Dead Mothers in Oliver Twist; 3. The Domestication of Violence in Jane Eyre; 4. Bearing Her Secret: Mary Elizabeth Braddon's Aurora Floyd; 5. Lady Audley's Secret: The Angel in the House is "Dangerous!"; Conclusion: Hollowing Out Abjection Through The Crisis of the Word; Bibliography: Works Consulted. Works Cited; Index.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780773459892
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 216
  • ID: 9780773459892
  • ISBN10: 0773459898

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