Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.663187
Title: Spinsters and authors : women's roles in Margaret Oliphant's writing
Author: Varga, Z.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2004
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Abstract:
Using recent critical developments in feminist social history and literary historiography, as well as the recently increasing interest in Victorian journalism, this thesis re-examines Margaret Oliphant’s position on women’s roles from a sociological and historical perspective. The question of Oliphant’s position on women’s roles has been raised before, yet literary historians, inspired by the presuppositions of second-wave feminism and second-wave literary history, have restricted the debate to the question whether she was a ‘bad’ feminist or a ‘good’ one, and have ignored Oliphant’s representation of female authorship. This thesis attempts to redress the balance by providing a close reading of Oliphant’s journalism in a historical context. The examination of Oliphant’s journalism, a largely neglected area, along with selections from her extensive output of fiction, has allowed the identification of two fundamental roles for women which she represents as natural to the 19th century woman: the domestic woman and the woman writer. While the former appears to be a less than radical point, it explains Oliphant’s ostensibly conservative views on the nascent women’s rights movement. Moreover, in the second part of her long writing career, Oliphant explored alternative domestic structures that enable female authority and domestic existence. Oliphant’s examination of the position of the female author partly replicates this pattern by suggesting the naturalness of female authorship to the domestic women, and this allows her to start to develop an early theory of female writing and literary history, analysing the ways in which the female author can exercise authority in the marketplace. While the Oliphant represents both of these positions as natural to the domestic woman, she also investigates those social structures that allow the proper exercise of female authority. At the same time the thesis attempts to describe Oliphant’s ideas on the ideal humane community as well as her ground-breaking work in literary history and the definition of alternative versions of domestic authority and female authority.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.663187  DOI: Not available
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