Macquarie University
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Beatrice, Guinevere, Joan and Nicolette: a cross-section of Britain’s perception of womanhood in the long nineteenth century and its convergence with medievalism

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posted on 2022-03-28, 22:24 authored by Ellie Crookes
Medievalism – manifestations of the Middle Ages in the post-medieval world – intersected with both ‘progressive’ and ‘conservative’ discourses of gender in the long nineteenth century in Britain. Nineteenth-century medievalism has been studied extensively, but the detailed interplay between this phenomenon and gender politics, particularly the representation of ‘womanhood’, is a rich area that will profit from the more extensive and nuanced analysis this thesis offers. The thesis analyses four medieval female figures, distinct in their connection to diverse aspects of debates on womanhood, in order to develop a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the phenomenon of nineteenth-century British medievalism and its inextricable interconnectedness with gendered discourses of the time.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Chapter One. ‘La donna’ idealizzata : Dante’s Beatrice as an archetype of feminine perfection -- Chapter Two. An adulterous queen : Guinevere as a complex model of demonised womanhood -- Chapter Three. The soldier and the saint : Joan of Arc as an embodiment of the ‘New Woman -- Chapter Four. Nicolette and her descendants : the medievalised, orientalised woman as both a symbol of feminine ‘otherness’ and a reflection of British womanhood -- Chapter Five. Concluding thoughts -- Works cited.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 454-498

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of English

Department, Centre or School

Department of English

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Louise D'Arcens


Copyright Ellie Crookes 2017. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (498 pages) illustrations (some colour), portraits (some colour)

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