Richard Marsh's Redundant Crime Narratives: Defining Gender through Crime at the Fin-de-Siècle

JONES, Megan (2018). Richard Marsh's Redundant Crime Narratives: Defining Gender through Crime at the Fin-de-Siècle. Masters, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Crime, criminals and the police investigation dominate the plots of Richard Marsh’s Victorian fin-de-siècle novels and short stories. Over the years, research into his representations of crime has been limited; however, recently there is increasing discussion around the ways in which Marsh uses various themes of crime in his fictions, including the extent to which he engages with the 1888 Whitechapel murders. Despite this increasing attention, an analysis of the relationship between crime and gender within his novels is still fairly limited. This thesis will address this gap, and contribute to current discussions of the author in two ways: (1) by exploring how Marsh’s representations of crime and the criminal investigation exemplify the clear ideological stance of his novels in regards to not criminal issues, but the societal changes in thought towards gender at the fin de siècle; and (2), how this particular strategy of using the theme of crime as an avenue to discuss issues of gender illuminates the significant extent to which Marsh reiterates the rhetoric and narrative techniques within the newspaper reports of the Whitechapel murders at the end of the nineteenth century. In order to explore these two aspects four of Marsh’s fin-de-siècle novels will be analysed: The Beetle: a Mystery, The Goddess: a Demon, The Crime and the Criminal and Mrs Musgrave – and Her Husband. Through an exploration of three aspects of crime – the female criminal, the male criminal, and the detective figure – I will argue that Marsh’s dominant representations of crime and the criminal investigation are used as a superficial way to express anxiety over the changing societal positions and characterisations of middle-class women at the end of the century. In this thesis, I aim to illuminate a new way of interpreting Marsh’s use of crime, an interpretation that demonstrates the extent to which Marsh responds to the Whitechapel murders and highlights further his importance as a fin-de-siècle author.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Thesis advisor - Dredge, Sarah
Additional Information: Director of studies: Dr Sarah Dredge "No PQ harvesting"
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2019 16:47
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2023 15:17

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