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Female Victorian Fiction
Dr. Petra Schenke
Female Victorian Fiction
Shaping the Reader`s Mind
From the original 19th-century philosophical, scientific and literary texts, we have seen how the first professional female novelists under Queen Victoria's tutelage have succeeded in shaping readers' minds. This research focuses on Victorian prose that has either won the esteem of its contemporary audience and/or has been popularized by 20th- and 21st-century critics. Conservative efforts to educate young Victorian minds through 'quality literature' according to high standards of morality were hampered in the second half of the 19th century by the dramatization of scandal and crime in the popular sensation novel. The need for instructed learning alongside the evolutionary development of natural talents and moral propensities has been carefully acknowledged by renowned authoresses. With a different approach previously neglected by British literary scholars we have explored the educational relevance of foreign language and literature inside the Victorian female novel. Additionally, through reading about the emotional experiences of Victorian women (and men) in fiction from an informed modern point of view, we should gain a deeper understanding of the intricate psychological designs used by 19th-century female writers.
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