Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Janet Land

Abstract

This paper discusses gender anxiety in two of Wilkie Collins's novellas, The Haunted Hotel and The Guilty River.As each of Collins's novella was written near the turn of the nineteenth century, commonly known as the Fin de Siècle, the author explores the social construction - and subsequent subverting - of Victorian notions of genderideology in each text. Arguing that the novella's emphasis on marginalized characters demands scholarly attention and literary worth, the author next investigates three discourses through which traditional genderspheres are subverted. In examining each novella's use of embedded narratives, discussion of science (specifically chemicals), and portrayal of madness, the author concludes that each novella's prominent marginalized characters problematize traditional Victorian notions of gender ideology and foreshadow the historical images of the New Woman and male aesthete or Decadent.

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