Emerging Female Voice in the Victorial Women Novelists

Md. Safiul Karim


After centuries of male domination in all the realms of literature, the Victorian age spawned a galaxy of women novelists who would rival their male counterparts. Their novels comprised the entire range of human spectrum from the isolated individual to the collectively social, and conferred the age with new sensibilities and new subjects unprobed by the male psyche so far. In the novels of the Bronte sisters, the social is eschewed by the subjective. With fierce imagination, terrifying passion and unadorned realism, Emily Bronte revolts against the Victorian sense of male-dominated propriety in Wuthering Heights (1847). The chief females voice a struggle of archetypes representing elemental forces. The Brontes painted the sufferings of an individual, and presented a new conception of the heroine as a woman of vitality and energy. Their works are as much the products of imagination and emotion as of intellect and reality. George Eliot, the pseudonymous Mary Ann Evans, is perhaps the greatest of Victorian feminine voice. Her major novel Adam Bede or Middlemarch pictures English life among the humbler classes, be it in rural or urban society. George Eliot’s basic preoccupation is with the intellectual problems and psycho-analysis of her heroines. Not meant for entertainment and delight, her females become a suitable medium for the serious discussion of moral issues. Elizabeth Gaskell chiefly concerns with the social problems. As a detached observer of life and a zealous crusader for morality, her female protagonists like Mary Barton or Sylvia delivered ironical commentary on social life.

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