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Title: Representations of childhood : motifs of child and trickster in selected mid-Victorian to fin-de-siecle prose fiction
Author: Sattaur, Jen
Awarding Body: Aberystwyth University
Current Institution: Aberystwyth University
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis reads Victorian fin de siecle literature through perceptions of childhood, as revealed in the patterns of two archetypes: the Trickster and the Child. It examines a connection between the chaotic and the idealistic symbolic representations of childhood, as represented by these two archetypes, and as seen in some of the newly-developed cultural formations of the Victorian fin-de-siecle. Victorian anxieties about change are linked closely to anxieties about childhood, procreation, and maturation, revealed as a progression of patterns of the two archetypes in a range of children's and adults' texts. For each decade I examine one adult text and one children's text, comparing how cultural formations relating to body, mind, 'soul' and society, explore symbolic renditions of 'generationality' through the Child and Trickster archetypes. Two 1860s texts provide a mid-century marker - Collins' The Moonstone, revealing aspects of the economic-sociologic impact of Empire on society, linked with Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, seen in terms of perceptions of madnes~ and 'normality' which shaped the field of psychoanalysis: for the 1880s, I examine Stevenson's Jekyll and Hyde and its use of evolutionary theory, linked with Wilde's The Happy Prince and Other Tales, discussed in terms of the aesthetic movement; finally, for the 1890s, George MacDonald's Lilith, is considered in relation to aspects of spiritualism, linked with Kipling's The Jungle Books, viewed in terms of anthropology and its exploration of connections between 'primitive' life, animal life, and progress. By examining how these two archetypal ways of representing childhood progressed from being distinct to being merged in literature, this thesis hopes to demonstrate the ways in which some of the emergent intellectual formations which have come to represent change in the fin-de-siecle period were inherently concerned with perceptions of childhood as they represented both the promise and the threat of the future.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available