North, Susan; Ventura, Abbie
College of Arts and Sciences
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Place of Publication
This thesis demonstrates how the emergent genre of girls’ literature in the Victorian period served to destabilize and challenge contemporary restrictive depictions of women. It revises the theory of Gilbert and Gubar in The Madwoman in the Attic, which posits that in nineteenth-century literature, women could only function as diseased, insane prisoners or else as angelic rulers of the domestic sphere; this thesis employs examples from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess to prove that even during the height of Victorian literature, books written for and about young girls were already troubling the dichotomy set up by the literature of their mothers and older sisters. Imagination as it is shown in Burnett’s novel is a process that combines the chaotic irrationality of the "madwoman’s" insanity and the logic and agency characteristic of the "angel in the home"—it provides a middle ground where aspects of the Victorian "good" and "wicked" femininities can be reconciled.
M. A.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Arts.
Children's stories, English -- History and criticism; Children's stories, English -- History and criticism
Burnett, Frances Hodgson, -- 1849-1924 -- Criticism and interpretation
English Language and Literature
vi, 83 leaves
McPherson, Alexie, "From pretending to supposing: redeeming the madwoman in Frances Hodgson Burnett's A Little Princess" (2014). Masters Theses and Doctoral Dissertations.