Date

5-15-2020

Description

Literary critics often emphasize the importance of physical space and privacy in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, Mary Elizabeth Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret, and George Eliot's Middlemarch. Critic Liana F. Piehler argues private physical spaces serve as a sanctuary from the patriarchal structures of the novel, providing the female protagonist room to think clearly. New historical literary critics including Karen Chase, Michael Levenson, and Elizabeth Langland show how evolving dynamics within Victorian society led to a growing public interest in the secrets of the private sphere--the sphere where women reigned--penetrating even the most intimate spaces. Tracing a pattern of patriarchal infringements on women's private spaces within these novels, however, I argue the physical privacy each character finds is mere illusion. It is only when they enter the liminal psychological space created in the borders of sleep--the process of falling asleep or waking from--where protagonists can obtain a true privacy, process her circumstances, and escape oppressive structures pervading societal and literary spaces in the nineteenth century, that something like true privacy can be found.

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May 15th, 12:00 AM

Weary Women: Victorian Women and the Navigation of Space-less-ness

Literary critics often emphasize the importance of physical space and privacy in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, Mary Elizabeth Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret, and George Eliot's Middlemarch. Critic Liana F. Piehler argues private physical spaces serve as a sanctuary from the patriarchal structures of the novel, providing the female protagonist room to think clearly. New historical literary critics including Karen Chase, Michael Levenson, and Elizabeth Langland show how evolving dynamics within Victorian society led to a growing public interest in the secrets of the private sphere--the sphere where women reigned--penetrating even the most intimate spaces. Tracing a pattern of patriarchal infringements on women's private spaces within these novels, however, I argue the physical privacy each character finds is mere illusion. It is only when they enter the liminal psychological space created in the borders of sleep--the process of falling asleep or waking from--where protagonists can obtain a true privacy, process her circumstances, and escape oppressive structures pervading societal and literary spaces in the nineteenth century, that something like true privacy can be found.