History of English Literature

Victorian women novelists

“A Women is a foreign land”— Coventry Patmore: The Angel  in the House

After the flourishing of women’s writing towards the end of the 18th century, the 19th century brought high popularity to many female novelists. Equality was still some way off, as is shown by Mary Ann Evans’s choice of pen-name,—George Eliot, or by Bronte sisters’ adoption of  pseudonyms —Currer, Elis and Acton Bell, in order not to draw attention to the fact that they were women. These women novelists, fairly importantly enough opened up new possibilities for the form of the English novel and also for the portrayal of women in fictions. At the same time these lady novelists provided a basis for which psychological exploration became a key component in the development of the genre of the novel.

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