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Modern Literature Commons

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Full-Text Articles in Modern Literature

Rebellion In The Metropolis: George Gissing's New Woman Musician, Laura Vorachek Jan 2015

Rebellion In The Metropolis: George Gissing's New Woman Musician, Laura Vorachek

Laura Vorachek

In his depiction of Alma Frothingham, the female protagonist of The Whirlpool, George Gissing intersects two cultural debates of the fin de siècle: the New Woman and female musical genius. Setting his novel against the backdrop of the specular economy of late-nineteenth-century London, Gissing’s engagement with these debates sheds light on the vexed question of his feminism. His New Woman’s increased autonomy and sexual freedom is evident in her pursuit of a professional music career. Alma believes she has control over her own sexuality and the sexual response her performances elicit in others. However, she does not recognize ...


Whitewashing Blackface Minstrelsy In Nineteenth-Century England: Female Banjo Players In 'Punch', Laura Vorachek Jan 2015

Whitewashing Blackface Minstrelsy In Nineteenth-Century England: Female Banjo Players In 'Punch', Laura Vorachek

Laura Vorachek

Blackface minstrelsy, popular in England since its introduction in 1836, reached its apogee in 1882 when the Prince of Wales took banjo lessons from James Bohee, an African-American performer. The result, according to musicologist Derek Scott, was a craze for the banjo among men of the middle classes. However, a close look at the periodical press, and the highly influential Punch in particular, indicates that the fad extended to women as well. While blackface minstrelsy was considered a wholesome entertainment in Victorian England, Punch's depiction of female banjo players highlights English unease with this practice in a way that ...


Speculation And The Emotional Economy Of 'Mansfield Park', Laura Vorachek Jan 2015

Speculation And The Emotional Economy Of 'Mansfield Park', Laura Vorachek

Laura Vorachek

At the midpoint of Mansfield Park (1814), the Bertram family dines at the Parsonage, and card games make up the after dinner entertainment. The characters form two groups, with Sir Thomas, Mrs. Norris, and Mr. and Mrs. Grant playing Whist, while Lady Bertram, Fanny, William, Edmund, and Henry and Mary Crawford play Speculation, This scene is central not only because Speculation reveals certain characters' personalities, but also because another type of “speculation” occurs during the game as the players contemplate or conjecture about one another. Moreover, “speculation” in the sense of gambling functions as a metaphor for the vicissitudes of ...