Title page for ETD etd-04132005-135311

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Brown, Shannon Landry
URN etd-04132005-135311
Title "We Are No Preacher": Margaret Oliphant's Textual Authority
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department English
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Elsie B. Michie Committee Chair
Daniel Novak Committee Member
James Borck Committee Member
Sharon Aronofsky Weltman Committee Member
Frank Anselmo Dean's Representative
  • seen and unseen
  • miss marjoribanks
  • phoebe jr.
  • hester
  • kirsteen
  • nineteenth century
Date of Defense 2005-03-18
Availability unrestricted
In this dissertation, I examine four of Margaret Oliphant's novels, her supernatural fiction, and her literary reviews, revealing how she relies on her knowledge of the cultural sign system, domesticity, and women's value to show how women may successfully navigate middle-class Victorian society. She accomplishes this by identifying the places where women's strengths lie: the boundaries between work and family, between the spiritual and material, amid the everyday details that she herself realizes reveal the workings of society. She sets herself up as a voice of authority within the system itself, not as a distant, all-knowing sage but as someone who shares the tensions that women in the Victorian period experienced while searching for meaningful occupation and serving as the heart of a household, and ultimately reveals that women are able to exert control over themselves in previously unacknowledged ways.
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