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Date Permissions Signed
Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Mahoney, Kristin Mary
Historically, Marie Corelli's popular 1890s fiction has been considered lowbrow. Contemporary scholarship has attempted to recuperate her work by aligning her texts with high art movements of the nineteenth-century. The two Corelli novels that this thesis examines, The Sorrows of Satan (1895) and Wormwood (1890), construct idealized gender representations through a combination of low and high art stylistics and subject matter. These novels critique modes of consumption that cause characters to deviate from the ideal behavior represented within the text. These characters" deviations from idealized conceptions of masculinity and femininity endanger national identity. This thesis considers the utility of the term middlebrow as a way to reconfigure the divide between low and high art. Furthermore, it argues that Corelli's construction of a gendered national identity reflects the dominant conception of Englishness, providing Victorian studies with a more nuanced distinction between popular nineteenth-century texts. Middlebrow fiction reflects and solidifies national identity, thus offering a lens through which to view Corelli's project.
Western Washington University
Subjects – Names (LCNAF)
Corelli, Marie, 1855-1924--Criticism and interpretation; Corelli, Marie, 1855-1924. Sorrows of Satan; Corelli, Marie, 1855-1924. Wormwood
Subject – LCSH
Middle class in literature; Popular culture--England--History--19th century
Copying of this thesis in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this thesis for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.
Kendall, Courtney, "Between the brows: searching for the placement of Marie Corelli's popular fiction" (2011). WWU Graduate School Collection. 135.