Presentation Title

Irene Adler, the Atypical Criminal; Female Victorian Criminals

Advisor Information

Tanushree Ghosh

Location

UNO Criss Library, Room 112

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Start Date

6-3-2015 11:15 AM

End Date

6-3-2015 11:30 AM

Abstract

From the start of the Victorian era circa 1837, women have contested the roles in which society had placed upon them. Through the medium of paintings, literature, illustrations, and the new technology of photography, women were subjects of opposing ideologies on gender roles as societal representation. To describe the ideal, normative Victorian woman, painters put their subjects in domestic settings. Women were visually seen in the home because painters placed them there. The ideal Victorian woman was defined as a fragile, unitelligent individual. Men took control of discussions involving politics, economy, and law. This became paradoxical since Queen Victoria took control of the throne and all women and men became her subjects. There were exceptions within the category of the “normative woman” that included certain tropes and analyzations of: the English working class, the “fallen” woman in society, and, the later idea, of the “New Woman”. Through these tropes and standards, the foreign woman becomes the opposite of the non- threatening English ideal and morals. These stereotypes trickled down into the discussion of female criminals and the traits of their features. In this paper, I will analyze the visual culture of Victorian femininity juxtaposed with foreign female criminal stereotypes; in order argue that Arthur Conan Doyle challenges these concepts through his character Irene Adler.

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Mar 6th, 11:15 AM Mar 6th, 11:30 AM

Irene Adler, the Atypical Criminal; Female Victorian Criminals

UNO Criss Library, Room 112

From the start of the Victorian era circa 1837, women have contested the roles in which society had placed upon them. Through the medium of paintings, literature, illustrations, and the new technology of photography, women were subjects of opposing ideologies on gender roles as societal representation. To describe the ideal, normative Victorian woman, painters put their subjects in domestic settings. Women were visually seen in the home because painters placed them there. The ideal Victorian woman was defined as a fragile, unitelligent individual. Men took control of discussions involving politics, economy, and law. This became paradoxical since Queen Victoria took control of the throne and all women and men became her subjects. There were exceptions within the category of the “normative woman” that included certain tropes and analyzations of: the English working class, the “fallen” woman in society, and, the later idea, of the “New Woman”. Through these tropes and standards, the foreign woman becomes the opposite of the non- threatening English ideal and morals. These stereotypes trickled down into the discussion of female criminals and the traits of their features. In this paper, I will analyze the visual culture of Victorian femininity juxtaposed with foreign female criminal stereotypes; in order argue that Arthur Conan Doyle challenges these concepts through his character Irene Adler.