Domesticated Bachelors and Femininity in Victorian Novels


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About the Book

Domestic issues, chastity, morality, marriage and love are concerns we typically associate with Victorian female characters. But what happens when men in Victorian novels begin to engage in this type of feminine discourse? While we are familiar with certain Victorian women seeking freedom by moving beyond the domestic sphere, there is an equally interesting movement by the domestic man into the private space through his performance of femininity.
This book defines the domesticated bachelor, examines the effects of the blurring of boundaries between the public and private spheres, and traces the evolution of the public discourse on masculinity in novels such as Brontë’s Shirley, Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret, Eliot’s Daniel Deronda, and Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This bachelor, along with his female counterpart, the New Woman, opens up for discussion new definitions of Victorian masculinity and gender boundaries and blurs the rigid distinction between the gendered spaces thought to be in place during the Victorian period.

About the Author(s)

Jennifer Beauvais teaches Gothic and Victorian literature at John Abbott College in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec. Her research questions the definition of masculinity and the public and private spheres by focusing on the domesticated man in Victorian fiction. She has published essays as well as teaching guides for Emily Brontë, George Eliot, and Mary Shelley.

Bibliographic Details

Jennifer Beauvais
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 198
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6036-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3962-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
List of Abbreviations vi
Introduction: The Domesticated Bachelor 1
One. Male Models: Performance and Transformation in Charlotte Dacre’s Zofloya and Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights 19
Two. Between the Spheres: “Dual Natures” Louis and Robert Moore in Charlotte Brontë’s Shirley 38
Three. The Domesticated Gentleman: Robert Audley in Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret 62
Four. “Domesticated Theatricality”: The Gentleman Actress in George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda 93
Five. Men Gone Wild: Male Exclusivity in Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 122
Six. The Reconfigured Sphere: Dandyism and Decadence in The Picture of Dorian Gray 152
Conclusion: The Reconfigured Sphere 168
Chapter Notes 171
Bibliography 177
Index 189