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Victorian religion and its influence on women writers: a study of four women: Grace Aguilar, Harriet Martineau, George Eliot and Mary Kingsley

West-Burnham, Jocelyn (2001). Victorian religion and its influence on women writers: a study of four women: Grace Aguilar, Harriet Martineau, George Eliot and Mary Kingsley. PhD thesis The Open University.

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This thesis is concerned to explore the relationships between religion, gender and questions of self identity in the nineteenth century through an investigation that works to draw connections between the lives and publications of four representative women of the period: Grace Aguilar, Harriet Martineau, George Eliot and Mary Kingsley. The selection of these particular women has been part of the concern of the thesis in its attempt to work both across disciplinary areas (religious studies, literature, history) and to employ theoretical and methodological perspectives which utilise the approaches from cultural studies and feminist scholarship to questions of texts and subjectivities, commonly referred to as `autobiography' within particular socio-historical contexts. In attempting to plot a matrix of associations between the key issues within the debates on religion, gender and questions of self formation and identity it was important to have figures which have survived their own moment of history. These are George Eliot and Mary Kingsley and to include those who have disappeared or who have become marginalised in some way which is the case to be made with respect to Grace Aguilar and Harriet Martineau. The argument of the thesis has worked to establish some of the possible links between religious denominational contexts and the lives and productions of the individual women under consideration. It has also worked to provide a series of arguments that explore the range of overlapping territories and connections between women during the nineteenth century when research has been confined to discipline specific studies. A case study approach on each of the individual women, like the one presented here, has the strength of both depth of analysis to their specific contexts as well as providing moments of association and recognition between them. Within this framework of knowledge the arguments offered here are in some ways original insights gathered from previous and wide ranging cultural debates on women in the nineteenth century and their contributions to intellectual discourse.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Copyright Holders: 2000 The Author
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Arts and Humanities > English & Creative Writing
Item ID: 58144
Depositing User: ORO Import
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2018 08:34
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2019 08:16
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