Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/10356/164820
Title: “Let me in!”: narratives of grief in nineteenth-century British literature
Authors: Koh, Carina Hui Ling
Keywords: Humanities::Literature::English
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Source: Koh, C. H. L. (2022). “Let me in!”: narratives of grief in nineteenth-century British literature. Master's thesis, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. https://hdl.handle.net/10356/164820
Abstract: Through an examination of discourses on grief in the Victorian period, this thesis seeks to examine the multiplicity of ways in which nineteenth-century novels narrate responses and reactions to death. Current studies on grief in Victorian society have thus far focused on public mourning practices such as respectable funerals, mourning weeds, the performativity of mourning and so on. In contrast, several novels written at the time were focussed on how to narrate private manifestations of grief. As opposed to examining private grief through specific frameworks which have been addressed by previous critical works, this thesis reads narratives of grief through religious, socio-cultural, and scientific frameworks while considering how these discourses have shifted across the nineteenth century. In doing so, it seeks to place these frameworks in conversation with each other to create a new dialogue of how the chosen authors for this project each incorporate different aspects of religion, culture, and science into their narratives of grief that has hitherto not been attempted. The texts for this project include Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847), Charlotte Brontë’s Villette (1853), and Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s two sensation novels, Weavers and Weft (1876) and The Fatal Three (1888). Thus, it is in fiction, that all these different discourses and non-literary texts may meet where narratives function as a testing ground for these competing frameworks to be navigated and reflected. In turn, Victorian fiction, therefore, produces narratives of grief that are relevant to the time and thus create a rich multiplicity of narratives. Further, in weighing and evaluating the different levels of narrative approval and effectiveness of the discourses on grief portrayed in the novel, this thesis argues that the novels have an ambivalent and at times contradictory stance towards the Victorian rhetoric of grief. This ambivalence asserts that there is no singular way to mourn as grief is not a homogenous experience.
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10356/164820
DOI: 10.32657/10356/164820
Schools: School of Humanities 
Rights: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SoH Theses

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