Committee Chair

McCarthy, Andrew D.

Committee Member

Guy, Matthew W.; Sligh, Charles L.


Dept. of English


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


In Victorian England, women were subjects within their patriarchal society. What Anne Brontë, Wilkie Collins, Mary Elizabeth Braddon emphasize and “sensationalize” is the subjugated marriage relationship, violently portraying men forcing their wives into submission. Brontë’s Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Collin’s The Woman in White, and Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret provide examples of men attempting to control the women in their lives. These novels deploy moments of violent seizure to dramatize and critique the inequalities inherent in the strict Victorian marriage laws. However, despite this usurpation of the female narrative, the insurgent testimony of the female voice persists in the mind of the reader. This thesis will examine the Sensation genre, focusing on the female narratives within the three novels. It will argue that the female narrative cannot be shut out or stifled. Once it has been released into the world, it must evoke power and create a culture of change.


I would like to offer my sincerest thanks to Dr. Andrew McCarthy for being so patient with me during the writing process and for giving me such helpful guidance. I also want to thank Dr. Charles Sligh for his dedication to this paper and his willingness to provide a listening ear and a guiding hand. I appreciate the help Dr. Matthew Guy who helped me navigate the convoluted world of narrative and literary theory. I want to express my gratitude to the UTC English Department for providing me the opportunity to expand my academic mind. Finally, I would like to thank my family. They endured my long days, late nights, and my occasional stress-induced irritability with such grace and compassion. I am overwhelmed by your unending support.


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.




Fiction -- Women authors -- History and criticism


Brontë, Anne, -- 1820-1849 -- Criticism and interpretation; Braddon, M. E. -- (Mary Elizabeth), -- 1835-1915 -- Criticism and interpretation; Collins, Wilkie, -- 1824-1889 -- Criticism and interpretation


Female narrative; Seizure; female writer; diaries; Victorian


English Language and Literature

Document Type

Masters theses


vi, 48 leaves




Under copyright.