Lydia Gwilt in ‘Armadale’: Flame-Haired Femme Fatale

Lydia Gwilt is the standout character of Wilkie Collins’s ‘Armadale,’ so much so that her wicked ways horrified Victorian readers. It’s no surprise given her status in the story as a liar, bigamist, husband poisoner and temptress. She was truly the antithesis of the demure, domestic and good-natured Victorian woman. I mean, in her firstContinue reading “Lydia Gwilt in ‘Armadale’: Flame-Haired Femme Fatale”

Lucrezia Borgia: Incest, Poison and Sexual Scandal?

Lucrezia Borgia’s reputation precedes her, as the debauched daughter of Rodrigo Borgia, more commonly known as Pope Alexander VI. The Borgia family dominated Renaissance Italy, and some describe them as Italy’s original crime family. What an iconic bunch. Lucrezia gets a lot of attention, especially in relation to her three marriages, and reputation as anContinue reading “Lucrezia Borgia: Incest, Poison and Sexual Scandal?”

Alec D’Urberville: Religious Fanaticism, Temptation and the Bible

Alec D’Urberville is ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ big bad, as his rape of Tess sets all of the events of the novel in motion, leading Tess down a path of misery which ends in her death and his. Alec is initially portrayed as a bit of a moustachioed pantomime villain, but his later resurgence inContinue reading “Alec D’Urberville: Religious Fanaticism, Temptation and the Bible”

Plutarch on the Real Antony and Cleopatra

It’s difficult to separate the fact from the fiction, when dealing with Mark Antony and Cleopatra, as so little sources survive about their love affair. One that does and is fairly accessible, is that of Plutarch, a renowned Roman philosopher and biographer. Now, he wasn’t alive to witness these events first-hand, but his account isContinue reading “Plutarch on the Real Antony and Cleopatra”

Fact in Fiction: Anne Boleyn in ‘Wolf Hall’

An analysis of Anne Boleyn’s portrayal in Hilary Mantel’s acclaimed novel, ‘Wolf Hall’! Anne Boleyn is a central character in the book ‘Wolf Hall,’ by Hilary Mantel. Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power centred on the annulment of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon, as Cromwell was proactive in speeding up the divorce, and ensuringContinue reading “Fact in Fiction: Anne Boleyn in ‘Wolf Hall’”

On the Madonna-Whore Complex of Women in Gothic Literature

Feminist criticism formed the idea of the ‘feminine Gothic,’ a term that examines the portrayal of female characters within the Gothic genre.[1] Critics focused on the tendency of male writers to keep female characters within the constraints of social stereotypes, leaving them victims of the traditional misogynistic and patriarchal culture.[2] Within this stereotype is theContinue reading “On the Madonna-Whore Complex of Women in Gothic Literature”