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Women & Belief, 1852-1928

Over recent years, research into religious belief during the Victorian period and the early twentieth century has grown in diversity and importance. The centrality of faith-based discourses to women of the period has long been recognized by scholars in the field. But until now relatively little significance has been attached to the fundamental relationship between women’s faith and women’s rights. This new title in the History of Feminism series remedies that omission. Women and Belief, 1852–1928 is a six-volume collection of primary materials covering a wide range of opinions about women, their self-identity, and the combination of their spiritual and political beliefs.

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[Publication] Not My Mother’s Daughter: Matrilinealism, Third-Wave Feminism, & Neo-Victorian Fiction

The plot of Sarah Waters’ third novel, Fingersmith (2002), is based on a complex web of matrilineal narratives, which eventually are uncovered as fictions. This essay will analyse these matrilineal fictions in terms of their influences on the novel’s protagonists Sue and Maud, as well as considering the novel’s matrilinealism first as a feminist metaphor for third-wave feminism and secondly as a metafictional device commenting on neo-Victorian fiction’s relationship to the past. Finally, it will highlight the genre’s similarities to third- wave feminism in terms of their shared concern for and treatment of the relationship between past and present.

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[Publication] Dead Husbands & Deviant Women

Over the past decade, the detective widow has become a well-established character in the little-explored subgenre of neo–Victorian crime fiction. In Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily series, the author argues, the detective widow investigates the gendered characteristics and complexities of Victorian widowhood while detecting the artistic crimes associated with historical fiction’s imitations and adaptations of the past.

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[Publication] Hystoriographic Metafiction

This article investigates the possible reasons for and significance of British twenty-first century fiction’s return to periods in which the field of mental health came into being and developed into a splintered discipline, contested by neurologists, alienists, pathologists, psychiatrists and psychoanalysts. Through an analysis of Sebastian Faulks’ Human Traces (2005), Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White (2002) and Maggie O’Farrell’s The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox (2006), this article aims to situate twenty-first century fiction within an interdisciplinary critical framework of questions: if, as Freud feared in his Studies on Hysteria (1895), psychoanalytic case histories can “read like short stories” (231), can novels in turn read like case histories of the societies and cultures of which they are products? If texts such as Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1848), Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White (1860), or Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret (1862) were able to “put the many concerns Victorians had about insanity into dramatic perspective” (Appignanesi 87), then do their twenty-first century counterparts perform the same role with regards to issues surrounding women as practitioners and patients within the field of mental health in Britain at the turn of the new millennium?

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