The White Phantom: Revenants of Ophelia in Nineteenth-Century British Literature and Culture

Melissa Dickson (2010). The White Phantom: Revenants of Ophelia in Nineteenth-Century British Literature and Culture MPhil Thesis, School of English, Media Studies and Art History, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Melissa Dickson
Thesis Title The White Phantom: Revenants of Ophelia in Nineteenth-Century British Literature and Culture
School, Centre or Institute School of English, Media Studies and Art History
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010
Thesis type MPhil Thesis
Supervisor Associate Professor Peter Holbrook
Doctor Judith Seaboyer
Total pages 116
Total black and white pages 116
Abstract/Summary This dissertation investigates the cultural, ideological, and literary background of and assumptions underpinning interpretations and representations of Shakespeare’s Ophelia in nineteenth-century Britain. Ophelia was a fundamental image in Victorian iconography, and was appropriated for and implicated in historically embedded social, cultural, and psychological formations and subjected to new methods of critical scrutiny. In art, poetry, fiction, literary criticism, and medical discourse, Ophelia became an example of feminine purity and tenderness, a prototype of Victorian female insanity, and a model for representations of beautiful, drowning women. Drawing on New Historicist theories and methodologies, I use fictional and non-fictional writing from literary, medical, and social discourses in order to elucidate an understanding of the dynamic and compelling relationship between the Victorian period and this fictional Shakespearean character.
Keyword Shakespeare, Ophelia, Victorian, madness, drowning

 
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