The Angelic Woman and the Demonic Bitch: Women in Gothic Literature
Date of Award
Restricted Access Thesis
College of Theology, Arts, & Sciences
Dr. Daniel Wright
The tradition of the Gothic genre is to utilize the social, political, and economical fears in current society to instill fear into the hearts of readers. This thesis focuses on the Victorian era’s fear of the New Woman, which is blatantly expressed by the authors of Gothic literature. The female characters in The Monk, by Matthew Lewis, She, by H.R. Haggard, Uncle Silas and Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula only fall into two stereotypes: The Angelic Woman and the Demonic Bitch. The characteristics of both archetypes emphasize that they were written to represent the traditional woman (the Angel) and the New Woman (the Demoness). The entirety of this research thesis focuses on the conflicting traits of the two characters— particularly in terms of sexuality, family dynamics, motherhood, education, and the corruption and fall of the Angelic Women— and ultimately, how these characters relate to the New Women’s movement in Victorian England.