Reading Eve in Victorian literature: Revisiting the fallen woman and the angel in the house

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In this chapter, Alison Jack focuses on texts by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christina Rossetti, George Eliot, Charles Dickens, and Elizabeth Mary Braddon to explore ways in which the binary distinction between the “Angel in the House” and the “Fallen Woman” is challenged and reassessed as the categories are applied to female literary characters. In the literature produced at the height of the mid-Victorian era, the figure of Eve as she appears in both Genesis 2–4 and Milton’s Paradise Lost is associated with a range of images, characterizations, and allusions which go beyond her identification with the “Fallen Woman.” The extent to which these Victorian literary re-imaginings of Eve are subversive and critical of their patriarchal context is contested by modern commentators. In this chapter, Jack argues that the significance of Eve in these novels and poems from the late 1850s to the early 1860s defies easy categorization, but nonetheless contributes in each case to a deeper understanding of what it meant to be a woman in Victorian England.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Eve
EditorsCaroline Blyth, Emily Colgan
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter10
Pages168-180
Number of pages13
Edition1st
ISBN (Electronic)9781003132332
ISBN (Print)9780367676742
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sept 2023

Publication series

NameRoutledge Companions to Gender
PublisherRoutledge

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