Exposing Sensation: Subversion on Trial in the Victorian Sensation Novel
Brennen, Gregory R.
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Subjectsensation novel, Victorian literature, sensation fiction, Wilkie Collins, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Ellen Wood, D.A. Miller
This study surveys eleven Victorian sensation novels from the 1850s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, including works by Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Ellen Wood, and Thomas Hardy. Using the theories of D. A. Miller, Michel Foucault, and M. M. Bakhtin, this paper reveals conservative forces—forces that existing feminist scholarship generally has not recognized—at work in the sensation novel. This paper, therefore, offers an alternative feminist reading of the sensation novel, one that seeks to expand the feminist discourse by illuminating the conservative disciplinary forces at work in the sensation novel and thereby exposing the genre’s abuse of femininity. Using Jane Eyre as a counterpoint, this thesis seeks to demonstrate that the sensation novel serves as a trial space for investigating, exposing, and nullifying secrets of deviance and subversion; the genre thereby effects a conservative enforcement of the dominant Victorian social ideology.
Franklin and Marshall College Archives, Undergraduate Honors Thesis 2011
- F&M Theses Collection 
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