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Title: Marriage and paradoxical Christian agency in the novels of Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, Anne Brontë and Elizabeth Gaskell
Author: Fisher, Dalene
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2016
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Between 1790 and 1850, the novel was used widely "for doing God's work," and English female authors, specifically those who identified themselves as Christians, were exploiting the novel's potential to challenge dominant discourse and middle-class gender ideology, particularly in relationship to marriage. I argue in this thesis that Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, Anne Brontë and Elizabeth Gaskell used the novel to construct Christian heroines who, as unlikely agents, make resistive choices shown to be undergirded by faith. All practicing some form of Christianity, Wollstonecraft, Austen, Brontë and Gaskell engage evangelicalism's belief in "transformation of the heart." They construct heroines who are specifically shown to question the value of a narrative that assumes wayward husbands would somehow be transformed as a result of the marriage union. The heroines in this study come to resist such reforming schemes. Instead, they paradoxically leverage the very Christian faith that dominant discourse would use to subjugate them in unequal unions.
Supervisor: Batchelor, Jennie ; Waters, Cathy Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: P Language and Literature