The Middle Class Novels of Arnold Bennett and Marie Corelli: Realizing the Ideas and Emotions of Late Victorian Women (Hardback)Sharon Crozier-de Rosa (author)
Hardback 440 Pages / Published: 31/08/2010
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This book builds on the large volume of existing literature that details the social, moral and economic context in which women of this era operated. It further complements the smaller body of existing writing that probes the interior lives of women. However, where as these latter works use personal documents, such as diaries and letters, to gain insight into the interior lives of mainly upper middle- and upper-class women, this study concentrates on women from the lower and middle levels of the middle classes and on the lower classes. There are many 'gaps' or 'silences' in women's history - especially in relation to their interior lives. Historians seeking to penetrate the thoughts and emotions of 'ordinary' single middle-class women living during the Late Victorian and Edwardian years face a challenging task as these women rarely left personal documents. Popular or bestselling novels are numbered among the few written sources that are available to help historians to fill in some of the absences in the conventional historical record. This study looks at a selection of the popular and bestselling novels of Arnold Bennett (1867-1931) and Marie Corelli (1855-1924). Bearing in mind the extensive readership that Bennett and Corelli each enjoyed, we can legitimately assume that these authors' ideas and values, consistently recurring within their fiction, corresponded with many of the emotional concerns and standards of their audience, resonating in the minds of their readers, as well as simultaneously entering into the wider contemporary debate. Using a comparative approach to examine Bennett's solidly popular middlebrow books and Corelli's phenomenally popular or bestselling novels, this work asks the question: which is more valuable to historians of mentalite - middlebrow or bestselling fiction?
Publisher: The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd
Number of pages: 440
Edition: New ed.
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