Innerd, J. A. (1973) An investigation into the effects of the Victorian notions of duty and obedience on the domestic novels of Charlotte Mary Yonge. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.
Charlotte Mary Yonge wrote a number of domestic novels, between 1844 and 1901, sixteen of which are considered in this thesis. They accurately portray contemporary Victorian middle-class life and attempt, by means of lessons in moral behaviour, to instruct the reader in the importance of duty and obedience. These notions were given particular religious emphasis by Evangelicals and Tractarians respectively and were widely accepted as part of the moral code in Victorian society.
The early novels take up problems which can befall adolescents; great emphasis is given to the importance of the duty to obey parental wishes. The Heir of Redclyffe contrasts the courtships of two couples whose understanding of the requirements of duty and obedience to parents are very different. Three novels examine women's responsibilities and contrast the behaviour of a number of women characters. Written in three different decades, these novels show that Charlotte Yonge came to disapprove of a new modern code of behaviour for women. A group of novels identified as family chronicles each portray a large family with several adolescent members who respond in different ways to the extra domestic responsibilities which they must assume on the death of one or both parents.
The later novels show the effects of a much changed society on Miss Yonge's literary technique. The requirements of duty and obedience as she understood them were no longer applicable in a contemporary setting. Eventually the overall effect of the notions was detrimental to Charlotte Yonge's domestic fiction. She could not adapt the notions to a changing Victorian society nor could she abandon the necessity of teaching a lesson in moral behaviour. Her best novels were written when she was in agreement with prevalent opinion as regards behaviour. Charlotte Yonge was a good storyteller but not a great writer.
|Item Type:||Thesis (Doctoral)|
|Award:||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Keywords:||Philosophy Religion Sociology Human services|
|Faculty and Department:||Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of|
|Copyright:||Copyright of this thesis is held by the author|
|Deposited On:||26 Jul 2011 18:02|