Mary Reilly as Jekyll or Hyde : Neo-Victorian (re)creations of Feminity and Feminism
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In his article “What is Neo-Victorian Studies?” (2008), Mark Lewellyn argues that the term neo-Victorian fiction refers to works that are consciously set in the Victorian period, but introduce representations of marginalised voices, new histories of sexuality, post-colonial viewpoints and other generally ‘different’ versions of the Victorian era. Valerie Martin’s gothic-romance Mary Reilly drew on Stevenson’s novella to introduce a woman’s perspective on the puzzle of Jekyll and Hyde. Almost twenty-years after the publication of Martin’s novel, the newly established field of research in Neo-Victorian fiction has questioned the extent to which Neo-Victorian recreations of the Victorian past respond to postmodern contemporary reflections and ideas about the period. This article aims to examine the ways in which this Neo-Victorian gothic text addresses both the issues of Victorian femininity and feminist principles now in the light of later Neo-Victorian precepts, taking into consideration that Martin’s novel introduces a woman’s perspective as a feminist response to Stevenson’s text but also includes many allusions to the cult of domesticity as a legacy of the Victorian gothic romance.
Is part ofJournal of English Studies, 2010, vol. 8, p. 119-140
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