Reconsidering Gender and Nationalism: Representations of English Female Characters in Literature of the Great Irish Famine, 1851-70
This thesis analyses the representation of English female characters in literature of the Great Irish Famine through the lens of postcolonial theory, gender and feminist theory, and Beller and Leerssen’s concept of imagology. The analysis of these works reveals three patterns in literary depictions of English womanhood which strongly reflect the authors’ opinions on gender, class, and politics, and are telling of the ways in which the national character of the English was portrayed in nineteenth-century Irish Famine literature. These representations are, moreover, linked to well-known and widely distributed nineteenth-century artistic depictions of national personifications, such as Sir John Tenniel’s rendering of Britannia, Hibernia, and Erin in Punch Magazine, to examine whether the authors of these novels were aware of the national rhetoric at the time and bought into the stereotypical national discourse, or instead sought to modify representations of national stereotypes and use them in their own ways.
Faculteit der Letteren