Complexion Changes in Victorian Literature


My capstone focuses on sentimental fiction and sensational fiction which were two important genres established during the Victorian period. I will create a rhetorical analysis on four novels of these genres that studies vocabulary regarding complexion changes. My goal is to see where the two sentimental novels (Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Villette) compare with the two sensational novels (Woman in White and Lady Audley's Secret) by studying the context behind vocabulary used in each book. My thesis is as follows: "The dominant discourses present in sentimental and sensational fiction reflect contextual changes in complexion-related vocabulary by shifting its focus from physiological, direct causes of complexion changes, to psychological, indirect causes of complexion changes."

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