• The Representation of Female Prostitution in Victorian and Neo-Victorian Literature

      Heeley, Kate (University of Chester, 2015)
      This dissertation discusses the representation of female prostitution in Victorian and Neo- Victorian literature by analysing the following texts: Oliver Twist, Mary Barton, The Crimson Petal and the White and Mrs Warren’s Profession. It analyses the stereotypical figure of the nineteenth century prostitute and looks beyond this representation by exploring image, maternity, female friendship and biblical symbols. The dissertation considers prostitution in Victorian culture as well as literature, and uses contemporaneous sources such as letters from Charles Dickens, newspaper articles and artwork in order to reinforce ideas. Ultimately the dissertation attempts to determine whether the prostitute was a powerful or a powerless figure by comparing the prostitutes in all four texts to each other and to their ‘respectable’ sisters.