Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)

Program

English

Date of Award

5-2015

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Robert Sawyer

Committee Members

Judith Slagle, Phyllis Thompson

Abstract

Poets such as Thomas Hardy, Augusta Webster, and Amy Levy portray prostitutes who seem guiltless about their choice of profession. Hardy's Amelia seems to symbolize the mutation of a pure country girl into a soiled disciple of evil; yet in the poem the changes in her life brought on by prostitution are evident in her drastically changed physical appearance and mannerism. Webster's Eulalie is an intelligent and well-spoken woman who undermines the stereotypical generalizations about prostitutes, relocating the source of the Great Social Evil from her profession to the institutionalized educational failure that trains women for nothing better than housekeeping. Levy's unnamed Magdalen, disease ridden and dying, may resemble a fallen woman. However, her lack of regret over the out-of-wedlock relationship with a man would make her an unrepentant prostitute in the eyes of the Victorians and she openly points to the real unmentionable of Victorian prostitution—the male client.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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