Gender and Ventriloquism in Victorian and Neo-Victorian Fiction: Passionate Puppets

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Palgrave Macmillan, Aug 21, 2012 - Literary Criticism - 224 pages
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In what ways does neo-Victorian fiction 'talk back' to the nineteenth century? What is at stake in the contemporary interest in 're-voicing' the Victorian era? Gender and Ventriloquism in Victorian and Neo-Victorian Fiction is the first book-length study of the relationship between ventriloquism and gender in nineteenth-century and contemporary literature set in the Victorian period. Offering an insight into the gendered history of ventriloquial utterance, this monograph seeks to re-evaluate the concept of ventriloquism by challenging the power relationship between 'ventriloquists' and 'dummies'. The ventriloquial metaphor articulates an ambivalent exchange between imitation and alteration, tribute and critique, voicing and silencing.  Through detailed analysis of Victorian and neo-Victorian narratives of ventriloquism, Helen Davies locates ventriloquism as a key trope for exploring the politics of contemporary fiction's dialogues with the nineteenth century.
  

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Contents

The Victorians for Dummies? Talking Back to the Nineteenth Century
1
Rethinking the Ventriloquial Metaphor
17
Henry James and George Du Maurier
38
Nights at the Circus Alias Grace and Clara
68
Oscar Wilde and Ventriloquial Influence
94
Ventriloquial Repetitions and Transformations in Sarah Waters Tipping the Velvet and Affinity
114
6 Talking to Ourselves? Ventriloquial Criticism and Readership in NeoVictorian Fiction
139
Voices Beyond the Victorian Era? Wesley Stace and Ventriloquism
167
Notes
179
Bibliography
192
Index
202
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About the author (2012)

HELEN DAVIES is an associate lecturer in English Literature at Leeds Metropolitan University, UK. She has published articles on neo-Victorianism, contemporary women's writing and Oscar Wilde. She is currently on the executive committee of the Contemporary Women's Writing Association and is the associate editor on neo-Victorian literature and criticism for The Oscholars journal.

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