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Jane Morris: The Burden of History

Parkins, Wendy J. (2013) Jane Morris: The Burden of History. Edinburgh Critical Studies in Victorian Culture . Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 256 pp. ISBN 978-0-7486-4127-7. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:40695)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided.


This is a scholarly monograph devoted to Jane Morris, an icon of Victorian art whose face continues to grace a range of Pre-Raphaelite merchandise. Described by Henry James as a 'dark, silent, medieval woman', Jane Burden Morris has tended to remain a rather one-dimensional figure in subsequent accounts. This book, however, challenges the stereotype of Jane Morris as silent model, reclusive invalid, and unfaithful wife. Drawing on extensive archival research as well as the biographical and literary tradition surrounding William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the book argues that Jane Morris is a figure who complicates current understandings of Victorian female subjectivity because she does not fit neatly into Victorian categories of feminine identity. She was a working-class woman who married into middle-class affluence, an artist's model who became an accomplished embroiderer and designer, and an apparently reclusive, silent invalid who was the lover of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Wilfred Scawen Blunt. Jane Morris particularly focuses on textual representations - in letters, diaries, memoirs and novels - from the Victorian period onwards, in order to investigate the cultural transmission and resilience of the stereotype of Jane Morris. Drawing on recent reconceptualisations of gender, auto/biography, and afterlives, this book urges readers to think differently - about an extraordinary woman and about life-writing in the Victorian period. It is the first scholarly study of Jane Morris, which seeks to challenge the stereotype surrounding her as melancholy invalid and Pre-Raphaelite femme fatale. It is an innovative case study of the role of class, gender and sexuality in the formation of Victorian feminine subjectivity. It is a contribution to emerging field of new biography and Victorian afterlives through the inclusion and examination of a wide variety of texts which construct the self. It is an original exploration of feminine creative agency that challenges conventional understandings of masculine artistic autonomy in the Victorian period.

Item Type: Book
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English philology and language
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
Depositing User: Stewart Brownrigg
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2014 00:05 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:15 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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