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She-wolfA cultural history of female werewolves$
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Hannah Priest

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719089343

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719089343.001.0001

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‘The complex and antagonistic forces that constitute one soul’

‘The complex and antagonistic forces that constitute one soul’

conflict between societal expectations and individual desires in Clemence Housman’s The Werewolf and Rosamund Marriott Watson’s ‘A Ballad of the Were-wolf’

(p.111) 7 ‘The complex and antagonistic forces that constitute one soul’

Carys Crossen

Manchester University Press

The nineteenth century was a significant one in terms of literature featuring female werewolves. Not only did the female werewolf make her first appearance in written fiction, but it was also the first century that saw female authors appropriate the figure of the female lycanthrope for their works of literature. This chapter focuses on Clemence Housman’s ‘The Werewolf’ and Rosamund Marriott Watson’s ‘A Ballad of the Were-wolf’ to explore gender anxieties and changing social roles at the end of the nineteenth century. Drawing on theorisations of female authorship, it posits the female werewolf as the Gothic ‘dark double’ and suggests a reading of this figure as the external embodiment of authors’ rebellious and active tendencies. However, the chapter also suggests that the paradoxical sense of irresolution in these examples of late Victorian literature, arguing that there appears to be no way to reconcile the more mutinous elements of femininity to society expectations in these lycanthropic tales.

Keywords:   Victorian literature, Gothic, Nineteenth century, Female authorship, Werewolves

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