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A Shocking Secret: The Scandal of Female Agency & Autonomy in Sensation Fiction

When 
Tue, 01/22/2019 - 16:30 to 17:30
Where 

Veröld - Hús Vigdísar

Further information 
Free admission

Jessica Murphy

This talk examines how select works of sensation fiction portray femininity as a complex and frequently deceptive performance meant to mollify and, on occasion, deceive impressionable and conservative spectators alike. Moreover, it explores the ways in which depictions of female agency and autonomy in sensation novels are fraught with underlying tensions expressing a profound ambivalence about the role and place of women in mid-to-late Victorian society. Seemingly meek and demure but surprisingly strong and assertive behind her angelic façade, the female protagonist in these texts is often an angel of the house turned devil who threatens to expose not only her ‘true’ nature but also that of all women, revealing the weaker sex’s ever-increasing quest for power and independence in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Anticipating the ‘New Woman,’ the fictitious woman depicted in such prose was already questioning society’s rigid gender norms and challenging restrictive boundaries in the private and public spheres.

The talk will be in English. Free admission. All are welcome.

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Jessica Murphy
A Shocking Secret: The Scandal of Female Agency & Autonomy in Sensation Fiction