Abstract or Introduction
In this essay, I aim to compare Woolf’s and Carter’s take on the female identity as shown in their work. I will focus on the novels, “Mrs. Dalloway” and “Nights at the Circus”, respectively, and their female characters.
The fight for female equality experienced a high during the turn of the 19th to 20th century. It was defined by the suffragette movement that gained the voting right for women in 1928. However, it all started in the 1890s, when the term “New Women” was introduced by the American novelists Sarah Grand and Ouida. In a pair of articles, published in the North American Review, the writers laid focus on the independent and educated woman that was not merely an object of desire for men and a means for reproduction. By the public, the term was soon related to social reforms, in literature, however, the New Woman was heavily criticised. She was often portrayed as selfish and over-educated, hence a danger to the male ego. Virginia Woolf, born in 1882 in Victorian London and one of the few partially recognised female writers of her time, experienced the social changes and the adoption of a new view of the woman first hand. As a young woman she first came in contact with the women’s rights movement in Britain, which later influenced her work to a great extent. More recently, in light of the first and second wave feminism, her work has been interpreted as showing early forms of feminist thinking. Angela Carter, born more than half a century later in 1940, is known for her openly feminist writing that presents familiar stories and themes with a twist on gender and class issues6. Her novels and short stories are often set in the past and explore the issues of identity for women from the light of the first and second wave feminism during the 1970s and 1980s.
- Quote paper
- Marie Will (Author), 2019, Female Identity in the Late 19th and Early 20th Century in Virginia Woolf's "Mrs. Dalloway" and Angela Carter's "Nights at the Circus", Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/1369023