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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Mahoney, Kristin Mary

Second Advisor

Giffen, Allison

Third Advisor

Laffrado, Laura


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.




Corelli, Marie, 1855-1924--Criticism and interpretation, Corelli, Marie, 1855-1924. Sorrows of Satan, Corelli, Marie, 1855-1924. Wormwood, Middle class in literature, Popular culture--England--History--19th century


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subjects – Names (LCNAF)

Corelli, Marie, 1855-1924

Geographic Coverage



masters theses




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