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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, Aleksandra Tryniecka shares details of her new book, Women’s Literary Portraits in the Victorian and neo-Victorian Novel: An Intertextual Study, and what inspired her to write it.
Written by Aleksandra Tryniecka
My name is Aleksandra and I would like to share with you more about my new book entitled Women’s Literary Portraits in the Victorian and neo-Victorian Novel: An Intertextual Study. This book, published in February 2023 by Rowman & Littlefield, became a very important part of my life. Its publication symbolically marked the end of a certain stage of my life, and the beginning of a new chapter.
I am an Assistant Professor at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, a Deputy Head of Literature Unit in Athens Institute for Education and Research, literature lover, and a writer. The story of the book – together with the concept that, perhaps one day, I would make this dream come true and publish such work – began from my very first day at the university. Gradually, university ignited my appreciation of the Victorian novel.
I was lucky to continue this beautiful journey during my PhD studies, and it was the very moment when the idea concerning the book began clearly forming in my mind. Yet, before it reached its tangible form, a period of almost ten-year research would pass. During this time, I completed my PhD studies and decided to expand the idea connected with my literary project. Moreover, I was greatly inspired to carry out my research by the amazing Professor to whom the book is dedicated – Professor Anna Kędra-Kardela.
Women’s Literary Portraits in the Victorian and Neo-Victorian Novel
Women’s Literary Portraits in the Victorian and Neo-Victorian Novel is not meant to be a purely academic book exclusively written for the Readers connected with academia. Instead, it is a book dedicated to every Literature Lover and 19th-century Enthusiast. In this book, I hoped to connect my passion for literature with my interest in the historical and socio-cultural past. In effect, this work is a dialogical and intertextual journey through the selected nineteenth-century novels and their modern, revisionary counterparts known as neo-Victorian texts, aiming at exploring the literary visions of women across the centuries.
While writing the book, I realized that analyzing women as literary characters in both Victorian and neo-Victorian texts may reveal much more than meets the eye about the nature of both nineteenth-century and modern world. In fact, women are very interesting and versatile figures on the background of each society as, usually, they have to skillfully balance between the public and domestic spheres. Moreover, while doing so, they have to find equally skilful ways to preserve their personal integrity, identity and voice. The Victorian novel became a medium reflecting the struggles and victories of women as literary characters. Moreover, one can perceive a shift in the portrayal of women as literary characters which began in the second half of the nineteenth century.
Currently, in the modern rewritings of the Victorian texts, literary women regain their voices and identities in a truly contemporary, empowering manner. Yet, paradoxically, it struck me that even though the neo-Victorian novel strives to redeem the Victorian past, it also reveals the same paradoxes and absurdities of the modern day as those prevalent in the Victorian times.
While writing the book, I decided to approach the literary past neither as a nostalgic phenomenon, nor as a paradigm that should be criticized from the modern stance. Instead, I decided to explore the past as if I were a guest or a visitor within its framework. While doing so, I hoped to celebrate Victorian and neo-Victorian female characters in their attempts to thrive as individuals – as women who, even though representing such different epochs, struggled and struggle with similar problems and challenges. After all, as my research reveals, we are still surprisingly Victorian when it comes to our socio-cultural values, ambiguities, and ways of thinking.
Dear Readers, in the first part of my book I would like to invite you to explore the concepts of dialogism and intertextuality which will be helpful in the further reflection on the literary past and its relationship with the present. Afterwards, I invite you to dive into the Victorian world and its debate concerning the appearance of the Victorian novel.
We will also discuss Victorian ambiguities appearing in the literature of the era; the ethics of the past, as well as the topic concerning the so-called “Woman Question”. In the second part of the book we shall travel beyond the conceptual nostalgia of the past, rediscovering literary women and their families in neo-Victorian works of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and discussing them on the background of nineteenth-century fiction.
In this part of the book, I selected my favourite texts, hoping that they will also find a special place in your hearts.
Dear Readers, allow me to finish in a truly Victorian manner:
Ever Your Affectionate Friend and Author,
Find more from Aleksandra Tryniecka now:
www.aleksandratryniecka.com (I would like to invite you to subscribe!)
Youtube channel: @aleksandratryniecka8940 (I would like to invite you to subscribe!)
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