The Victorian Pseudonym and Female Agency
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of English Undergraduate Research Theses; 2015
This thesis details the pseudonym use of several key female Victorian authors: Charlotte Brontë, Anne Brontë, Emily Brontë, and George Eliot. It explores the literary trend of pseudonym use, gender in connection to pseudonym use, and the connection between the texts of the Brontë sisters and George Eliot to their pseudonyms. Within the thesis, I argue that female agency is directly linked to the pseudonym and allowed these Victorian authors a way to legitimize the Victorian female experience. Specifically, I link the pseudonymous authors' autonomy to their heroines' agency. I analyze three major works: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë, Villette by Charlotte Brontë, and Middlemarch by George Eliot. My literary analysis confirms a link between the pseudonym and female agency through letter writing, narration, and female professions. Ultimately, I argue that the heroines mimic the pseudonymous shield when they make bold and unconventional decisions despite gender restrictions.
Academic Major: English