Lady detectives and marriage : Grant Allen's model for liberation
Thesis (M.A.)--Georgetown University, 2010.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. This project addresses the issue of whether late nineteenth-century female detectives are subversive figures, or if they are--as many critics claim--examples of potentially transgressive women who conform to gender norms. While reading female detectives as a maligned is a relatively popular critical undertaking, taken on in Michele Slung's introduction to Crime on Her Mind and Kathleen Gregory Klein's The Woman Detective, the ways in which these novels did contribute to a feminist activity is often ignored. By looking at the Victorian lady detective novel through a historical lens, rather than a more modern feminist perspective, it is possible to understand the ways in which the genre's writers did revolutionary work in their creation of empowered, professional women. In texts like Grant Allen's Miss Cayley's Adventures (1899) and Hilda Wade: A Woman with Tenacity of Purpose (1900), the lady detective becomes integral to the feminist movement because she, alone, finds a way to use her observation and intelligence--both abilities associated with female detection--in a manner that helps her navigate the complicated waters of nineteenth-century marriage. An examination of the ways in which lady detective heroines, particularly Grant Allen's Lois Cayley and Hilda Wade, manage to resist confinement provides insight into the ways in which nineteenth-century women could find independence and liberation by using strategic, but subtle methods to rewrite their position in society as something that was at once progressive and acceptable.
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