Littoral crossings: imagery of women and water in nineteenth-century Britain Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Sanford, Lauren M.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Art and Art History
  • This dissertation analyzes the representation of women and water in Victorian visual culture during the second half of the nineteenth century. Many notions of the feminine ideal aimed to situate women firmly within the domestic sphere. However, a body of visual work that includes Victorian painting associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Movement as well as female figureheads on the prows of ships, challenges these notions by repeatedly placing women outside the home and in connection with the sea, an external element. Through a re-evaluation of the accepted knowledge that connects Victorian women with domesticity, I argue that water is a site through which men and women question, negotiate, and contest the ideal Victorian woman as private and domestic. Furthermore, this dissertation posits that these paradigms are inadequate for understanding the complex personal and social relations that these images represent. Analysis of women and water images allows us to understand contradictions regarding women, as well as the anxieties and confusion of men in the face of watery women.
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  • In Copyright
  • Sheriff, Mary D.
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Graduation year
  • 2014

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