female madness in victorian literature

This limiting paradigm left women with only two choices: to act as “the angel in the house”- domestic, passive, placid or to deviate from such expectations and be “bad” or “mad”. endobj uuid:1a758500-ad99-11b2-0a00-208d13010000 Braddon is challenging Victorian Literature’s notion that women are meant to be seen and not heard. 1 Yet in the eighteenth century male admissions to private asylums tended to outstrip those of women, and, according to Roy Porter, ‘Georgian asylum admissions lend no support to the view that male chauvinist values were disproportionately penalizing women with mental disorders’. endobj Abstract. 29 0 obj A view that madness in women was rooted in the womb was defined as early as 1736 in Nathan Bailey’s Dictionarium britannicum or a more compleat … Lucy’s self-reliance shows that women can be emotional on purpose and not just as a biological side effect of their gender. Any woman who transgressed this domestic role either through artistic self-expression, intellectual pursuits or by demonstrating an enjoyment of sex, found themselves vulnerable to being diagnosed as “mad”. <> The Hysterical Female Victorian society emphasized female purity and supported the ideal of the "true woman" as wife, mother, and keeper of the home. endobj By associating suicide with women who !!!!! Many women had begun to speak up about their views that were previously muted by the fear of the predominant male-led society. ����~���/n�y\�, “Frailty, thy name is woman”: Depictions of Female Madness. A Treatise on Insanity and Other Disorders Affecting the Mind is a medical text which primarily deals with mental illness and nervous disorders, and draws on case studies to support its theories. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Victorian Era Mental Illnesses Facts: Asylums, Doctors, Treatments. In light of the impact of the supernatural on literature and cultural discourse, it is imperative that the factors contributing to the rise of the supernatural in Victorian culture be examined. In Victorian society, the home was the basis of morality and a sanctuary free from the corruption of the city. 30 0 obj In the first chapter issues of gender and madness in Victorian literature are addressed, the analysis highlighting the particular association between women and madness but also considering depictions of male madness. <> Sally Shuttleworth is Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford, where she specialises in Victorian literature and the inter-relations of literature and science. The femme fatale rebels against the limitations placed on Victorian women, and her selfish conniving reveals the economic injustices women are subject to. endobj image of the seduced female suicide was a didactic tool used to discourage uncontrolled or overt female sexuality and other forms of impropriety. She is the Avalon Foundation Professor Emerita. Valerie Pedlar. Appligent AppendPDF Pro 6.3 <> The poetics of hysterics: Feminine madness in Victorian English and modern Chinese women's literature. <> It is therefore no coincidence then that Literature’s mad women have had in common traits of intelligence, independent thinking, outspokenness and an irrepressible sensuality. Ruth Richardson, Fellow of the British Royal Historical Society:In medicine, Lesley Hall's work A Guide to Contemporary Medical Archives in the Wellcome Library, ed. Neo-Victorian Madness: Rediagnosing Nineteenth-Century Mental Illness in Literature and Other Media investigates contemporary fiction, cinema and television shows set in the Victorian period that depi endobj Hence, female writers tend to depict the plight they encounter in their literary experience through their female characters' madness. <> 1 Victor Bailey, “This Rash Act”: Suicide Across the Life Cycle in the Victorian … In this sense, the madness that descends upon the female character is a deliberate dramatic representation of the crippling pressures imposed on women writers and the suffering they endure in their literary career. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. ( Log Out /  Amanda Engineer, Lesie Hall, and Julia Sheppard. 33 0 obj In contrast to the “angel” figure, the “monster” female character was sensual, passionate, rebellious, and decidedly uncontrollable: all qualities that caused a great deal of anxiety among men during the Victorian period. 6 0 obj Furthermore, the story reveals how women can manipulate rigid gender roles to obtain power in a world that routinely denies them agency. endobj 2020-02-04T12:56:19-08:00 491 0 obj about madness in nineteenth-century Britain to assess the extent to which it. <> Women and Madness in Victorian Literature – The Madwoman. endobj After discovering the case-notes of women in Victorian asylums, Diana Peschier reveals how mental illness was recorded by both medical practitioners and in the popular literature of the era, and why madness became so closely associated with femininity. Interestingly, the term “angel” stems directly from Coventry Patmore’s 1854 poem “The Angel in the House,” in which he described his docile and virtuous wife. was, in Elaine Showalter's phrase, a 'female malady' (1985). Book Description: Victorian literature is rife with scenes of madness, with mental disorder functioning as everything from a simple plot device to a commentary on the foundations of Victorian society. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. 488 0 obj endobj <> Female insanity was … Gilbert and Gubar draw their title from Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, in which Rochester's wife (née Bertha Mason) is kept secretly locked in an attic apartment by her husband. There is a lot of material online (see the Wellcome Library Catalogue) concerning the Contagious Diseases Acts, where venereal diseases were regarded in UK Legislation as somehow a peculiarly female problem, as if wom… endobj But while madness in Victorian fiction has been much studied, most scholarship has focused on the portrayal of madness in women; male mental disorder in the period has suffered comparative neglect. Since contemporary medical science defined women in biologically terms as inherently and naturally inferior, an ostensibly legitimate basis was provided to ensure that women be assigned to the home with no life beyond that of marriage, child rearing and household duties. endobj In Lucy’s rebellion and selfish behavior, she is actually breaking the stigma around a woman’s madness diagnosis. <> 2 0 obj 489 0 obj These critics viewed self-assertive, “masculine” behavior (read: unchastity), as a threat to Victorian society. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. The Victorian era was a particularly trivial time for feminism. But while madness in Victorian fiction has been much studied, most scholarship has focused on the portrayal of madness in women; male mental disorder in the period has suffered comparative … The condition of Hysteria and other related illnesses was specifically gendered as a female affliction, literally stemming from the womb and thus contemporary medical science methods of treating such disorders were focused on repressing her sexuality and regulating her monthly cycles. 2020-02-04T12:56:19-08:00 <> %PDF-1.7 %���� ( Log Out /  endobj ( Log Out /  One of the most widely read and loved classics, Jane Eyre written by Charlotte Bronte portrays the character of an insane woman, Bertha Mason, giving us an insight of the prevalent attitudes towards mental illness in the Victorian era and a view of the history of mental asylums in England. Showalter is a specialist in Victorian literature and the Fin-de-siècle (turn of the 19th century). From the mad heroines of classic Victorian literature to the portrayal of insanity in modern Western texts and Middle Eastern writing, women suffering from mental instability have been a captivating subject. Description. x��YYo7~7����Z��x�|�M��Z!E�A�|!�%������Cr�����€��s�7����i{w�Xn��o����by{��>O��͗����j�qqs���ޭg����:�M/e%d5�>>7��$�RW�n�y�p|ī������IU���3g�wΫi���z�]?�c�)ΙVU#Y�50��p��j��D�09%k���U�WK�l�F�������xb&��I 뛪U-�O����Z��m��dQ��e�K��E���e��S�����[O�Z��Z��}�z��U��ad�~��u*�fl�[��*��(�KH��>��ݚwa��[�� ��~���S������ܚ��������L��ƮmQ�+6P��'�8 ���:A*���Gk5� 3�w��q���K��Tɥ�q�2�UO��� ��ZK���]�&0��Y�c�X�s��Z&2����h� <>stream Julianna Little uuid:1a758501-ad99-11b2-0a00-a06e2692fe7f endobj <>stream With this time period and the publicity of feminism rising came female … <> Darwinian psychiatry attributed female biology, specifically the reproductive system, as the cause of perceived female intellectual inferiority. The mad heroines of classic Victorian fiction have long been objects of fascination. Braddon and Ouida,” Natalie Schroeder makes the claim that feminism in women’s fiction was a major concern of contemporary critics. <> 5 0 obj <> Since women depleted, or sacrificed, their energy in the reproductive process, they were heavily handicapped, even developmentally arrested, in intellectual competition.”. <> Hysteria was widely discussed in the medical literature of the Victorian era. 486 0 obj Victorian literature is rife with scenes of madness, with mental disorder functioning as everything from a simple plot device to a commentary on the foundations of Victorian society. 487 0 obj The authors use the figure of Bertha Mason as the so-called “Madwoman in the Attic” to make an argument about perceptions toward female literary characters during the time period. <> The condition of Hysteria and other related illnesses was specifically gendered as a female affliction, literally stemming from the womb and thus contemporary medical science methods of treating such disorders … 492 0 obj This dissertation explores a significant subject in both women's literature and feminist literary criticism, namely, "the figure of the madwoman." “Frailty, thy name is woman”: Depictions of Female Madness 32 0 obj 31 0 obj The young Victorian female had to live almost a life of secrecy, never being able to discuss female puberty or their sexual desires for fear that they would be labeled insane. 490 0 obj 485 0 obj Women and Madness in the 19 th Century ... literature of the time. This female oppression only worsened when sane women weren’t give the right to testify their sanity, especially when their family members signed her rights away for a multitude of reasons. The analysis focuses on three distinct, but at times interconnected, themes. 484 0 obj Change ). <> endobj Victorian codes of social conduct required a passivity of women, heavily restricting their freedom in order to behave in a way deemed respectable and befitting of a genteel lady. position is clear enough as the title of her book, The Female Malady , indicates, and in the text she elaborates and develops her claims as to the. 28 0 obj <>/Metadata 2 0 R/Outlines 5 0 R/Pages 3 0 R/StructTreeRoot 6 0 R/Type/Catalog/ViewerPreferences<>>> Presenter, Madwomen In The Attic. Women, ultimately suggesting that achieving the Victorian ideal is impossible a didactic tool used to discourage uncontrolled overt... Woman ’ s madness diagnosis Doctors, Treatments a variety of mental Facts... 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