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The Fantastic World of Nineteenth-Century Women’s Emotions: Two Literary Portrayals

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Visual Arts +4
Inspired by the December 2nd, 2015 Dibner Lecture by Laura Otis
Describing complex human emotions in words has challenged writers of every time in place. The feelings of rejected lovers are especially keen and make for engrossing stories. Two Victorian novelists, Charles Dickens and Rudyard Kipling, combined popular knowledge of science, literature, and religion to create powerful portraits of abandoned women. Although based more on cultural myths than human physiology, their depictions of Miss Havisham and the lady in the phantom rickshaw have had a powerful influence on representations of women’s emotions.