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Women's Role in the Late-Victorian England: George Gissing's The Odd Women and the 19th century Debate on Marriage and Divorce

Women have always been an interesting subject of study for the late Victorian author George Gissing (1857 – 1903). All his life he had studied women. In many of his novels there are female characters depicted in all human situations, with virtues and faults; their accurate description is due to the great influence that many women, in Gissing’s life, exerted upon him.

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1 INTRODUCTION Women have always been an interesting subject of study for the late Victorian author George Gissing (1857 – 1903). All his life he had studied women. In many of his novels there are female characters depicted in all human situations, with virtues and faults; their accurate description is due to the great influence that many women, in Gissing’s life, exerted upon him. The woman who influenced the author’s novels of the first period was Marianne Helen Harrison, ‘Nell’, a young prostitute who became his wife in 1879. At this stage of his life, Gissing believed that this "disease" was caused by poverty and the social indifference of stupid people who did not understand that these poor girls were just victims of circumstances and that they could be redeemed 1 . Nell met Gissing when she was seventeen; she lived in a brothel on Water Street. She was sexually abused by her stepfather and took refuge in drink and alcohol; the cause of her fall was probably this sexual drama. When Gissing met her, he wanted to save her life, to destroy her old identity and to turn her into a new woman, but all his efforts were useless, she demanded more and more money; the author even stole from his friends of Owens College, where he studied, in order to get the money to help Nell. Unfortunately, he was discovered and arrested. The sentence was one month hard labour. He was expelled from college and had to start a new life. In 1876, he left for 1 See James Haydock, Portraits in Charcoal - George Gissing’s Women, Bloomington, AuthorHouse, 2004, pp. 9-12.

Tesi di Laurea Magistrale

Facoltà: Lettere e Filosofia

Autore: Rossella Pratticò Contatta »

Composta da 164 pagine.

 

Questa tesi ha raggiunto 213 click dal 14/05/2013.

Disponibile in PDF, la consultazione è esclusivamente in formato digitale.