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Modern Literature Commons

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Selected Works

Laura Vorachek

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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 ...