Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Gender construction and the individual in the work of Mona Caird
Author: Rosenberg, Tracey S.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2693 6704
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2006
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
This thesis offers a revisionary analysis of the work of Mona Caird, centred around her rejection of socially-determined gender construction. Caird's contention that the happiness of individuals and the continuing evolution of society depended on releasing both sexes from pressure to conform to artificial gender roles, rather than conformity to 'natural' gendered behaviour, means that she holds a distinctiye position within late-Victorian debates about women's emancipation and post-war discussions about male violence and warfare. Chapters 1 and 2 position Caird within social, literary, and critical contexts, establishing her fundamental belief in individual rights and analysing how her opinions shaped her challenges to the concept that biology decreed destiny. By contextualising Caird's ideas within debates on marriage reform and women's suffrage, as well as among New Woman writers who promoted emancipation through embracing 'natural' roles rooted in women's ability to reproduce, the thesis situates her within fin de siecle controversies while exploring how she diverged from the prevailing views of her time. This study provides a foundation for the body chapters, which use Caird' s fiction to demonstrate her arguments against. and alternatives to, gender construction. Chapter 3 examines her theories on the construction of the individual, focusing on the self-sacrifice demanded of both sexes, while chapters 4 and 5 analyse how the social demand to subdue the individual to the . greater good' became tailored to ideals of femininity and masculinity. Chapter 4 studies Caird' s rejection of woman's 'natural' roles, particularly her subordinate position to her husband, in favour of an 'ideal marriage' which allows women to remain free to develop as individuals. Chapter 5 examines her post-war analysis on the emphasis on violence in the construction of men, the cultivation of which leads to war and the potential annihilation of humanity. Ultimately, Caird reinterprets the idea that struggle leads to evolution, arguing instead that development can occur only when society gives free rein to the creative powers of the individual.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available