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