• An Italian Affair: the impact of Italy on the woman traveller in George Eliot’s Middlemarch and Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady

      Wynne, Deborah; Walker, Naomi (University of Chester, 2015)
      The aim of this dissertation is to examine the impact of Italy on the woman traveller, primarily through an analysis of the ways they are presented in George Eliot’s Middlemarch and Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady. The dissertation will examine the travel writings, journals and letters of George Eliot and Henry James in order to gain an insight into their own perceptions of the country. The travel writings of Victorian women travellers will also be discussed. The investigation is split into three chapters. The first chapter analyses the time spent by George Eliot and Henry James in Italy and their thoughts and experiences of the country and how this impacted on their novels. It will be discussed whether the style of their writing in their journals, letters and essays is different to their novels. The second chapter focuses mainly on the two heroines of the novels, Dorothea Brooke and Isabel Archer, and examines the effect that Italy had on them. This chapter will also look briefly at other women characters in The Portrait of a Lady, and in other novels and novellas by Henry James, and how Italy affected their lives and situations. The third chapter studies the travel writings of Victorian women who visited Italy. This chapter also reflects on how tourism to Italy enabled Victorian women to re-imagine their own reality at home. The conclusion will briefly discuss two novels by E. M. Forster to analyse how the depiction of the woman traveller to Italy had changed by the early twentieth century.
    • Materialising meaning: Samuel Taylor Coleridge and George Eliot

      Davis, Jenny L. (University of Chester, 2012)
      George Eliot’s response to Romantic ideology is critically established. While most scholarship recognises the influence of William Wordsworth on her prose fiction, the affinities between Eliot’s prose and the poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge remain relatively unexplored. A wealth of criticism has established Coleridge’s importance to nineteenth-century philosophical and religious thought, as well as to aesthetic discourse; critical discussion of his poetic influence is usually linked with contemporary and later poets. He is, however, often invoked as a major influence on Eliot’s intellectual development. Evidence of Coleridge’s direct influence on Eliot’s fiction is difficult to substantiate; this study offers readings that diverge from previous analyses by foregrounding Eliot’s engagement with Coleridge’s language. Focus on the language used by Coleridge and Eliot reveals thematic and linguistic similarities, as well as convergences in their use of metaphor and symbolism. Where divergences exist, they are examined with the objective of establishing a development or progression in the way ideas and concepts are expressed in Eliot’s fiction. The nature of this progression is analysed in terms of Eliot’s increased preoccupation with materiality.