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|Title:||Victorian Narratives of Intimate Violence and the Problems of Visibility|
|Keywords:||intimate violence, impulse, public, consumable, abuse, domestic|
|Abstract:||<p>This dissertation explores the struggle between the impulse to cover up intimate violence and the impulse to make it public and consumable in nineteenth century England. It shows that intimate violence was both spectacular and unspeakable, rendering woman abuse a highly contested site of representation. It also reveals, however, that these ostensibly diametric modes of portraying violence worked in tandem to test the limits of what was socially and culturally representable during the period, and, in turn, to challenge hierarchies of genre, gender, class, and sexuality.</p> <p>This thesis is therefore both a study of the ways in which representations of intimate violence have avowed the imagined differences between members of disparate social categories and a study of how these differences often break down in the face of brutality. Chapter One shows that although street literature's representations of abuse seem invested in spectacularizing working-class violence, they often gesture towards the failures of middle-class domestic life and thus presume a unique vision of cross-class, shared moral experience. Chapter Two explores how feminist poet, pamphleteer, and novel writer Caroline Norton conflates multiple female identities to emphasize the importance of women's creative self-imagining as a means to resist physical violence and the rhetoric that encourages or allows it. Reading Anthony Trollope's Barchester Towers, Chapter Three intersects discourses on abuse with disability studies to interrogate how the conspicuous bodies of battered women can disrupt male homosocial interactions and complicate discourse on trauma and representation. Finally, Chapter Four considers the ways in which displacements of intimate violence in Wilkie Collins's The Woman In White create sympathetic bonds that blur subjective distinctions between abusive men and violated women to test male authority over representation.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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