When Death is the Maiden: Art, Literature, and the English Female Ghost, 1860 to 1911.
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This honors thesis analyzes the relationship between the literary female ghost and art culture from 1860 to 1911. I expand on previous research regarding the feminist potential of ghosts, as well as research on how visual and artistic representations of dead women in the nineteenth century reflected the period’s male fantasies and constituted an assertion of male domination in the face of women’s socio-political gains in England. By exploring three distinct ghost stories, each containing female ghosts that correspond to specific art movements, I argue that the female ghost evoked patriarchal artistic tropes concerning dead women. They also ultimately challenged the aestheticization and fetishization of inert female forms so as to question or critique broader cultural constructions of women during the long nineteenth century.
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