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History of Gender Commons

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European History

Undergraduate Honors Theses

William & Mary

2015

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Full-Text Articles in History of Gender

Bouts Of Brain Fever: Female Rebellion And The Dubiety Of Illness In Victorian Fiction, Stephanie R. Mason May 2015

Bouts Of Brain Fever: Female Rebellion And The Dubiety Of Illness In Victorian Fiction, Stephanie R. Mason

Undergraduate Honors Theses

In several Victorian novels, a character becomes incapacitated—and bedridden—for a period of time due to an elusive ailment known as brain fever; these mental alterations usually occur in female characters after an unexpected event or a stress-ridden situation. However, the sources of and meanings behind these fits of brain fever are limited to generic descriptions (if the author provides any explanation at all). This apparently intentional absence of information suggests that the illnesses act as symbols, alluding to or attempting to understand relevant social issues of the time. Through an in-depth study of Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton ...