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Fabricating Identity: Subversion of the sartorial and the se

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Danni Norman

on 13 May 2014

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Transcript of Fabricating Identity: Subversion of the sartorial and the se

Fabricating Identity: Subversion of the sartorial and the self in Sarah Waters'

Sarah Waters: Fingersmith
"We need a name [...] Brown? To match your dress?"
(Waters, 2002, p. 39)

neo-Victorian preoccupation with re-creating the
Sartorial language and the self
Issues of identity and self-hood.

The Sartorial in
Gendered Identity
Masquerade & Performativity
"Like the linguistic code, the code of
dress may be subverted." (Castle, 1986,
p. 56)

"dress is one of the ways in which relationships, identities and sexualities are [...] enacted and contested." (Munns & Richards, 1999, p. 27)
The Sartorial In
Clothing is Revelatory:
Constructs of Identity based upon dress:

"The trunk was for me to take to the country. In the bag was a brown stuff dress, more or less my size; and a cloak, and shoes, and black silk stockings" (Waters, 2002, p. 35)
“He set down his bag […] and took off his sodden hat and gloves and then his dripping overcoat […] There were rings at his fingers, and a watch, with a jewel on the chain, at his waistcoat.” (2002, p. 19)

"of course, he could mix with Society, and seem honest as the rest." (2002, p.21)
Creating and transcending class divisions...
"At points the plot turns on the value of a gentlewoman's petticoats, or the importance of her gloves." (Mullan, 2006)
The Sartorial in
The Sartorial in
Constructs of Identity based upon dress:
"Waters' post-modern critique of Victorian society uses clothing to signify all that is depersonalizing and oppressive to the individual within existing gender roles" (Corrie, , p.)

"an explicit feminist critique that considers gender a mere theatrical performance" (Corrie, ,p.)
To Masquerade is to, according to the OED: "go about in disguise, as at a masquerade; to pass oneself off under a false character or as someone else; to have or assume the appearance of someone else" (OED online)

Sarah Gamble: "the
[my emphasis] potential of neo-Victorianism resides in its self-conscious exercise in looking backwards" (2009, p.126)
Butler, J. (1988). Performative acts and gender construction: an essay in phenomenology and feminist theory. Theatre Journal 40(4), 519-531.

Castle, T. (1986). Masquerade and Civilisation: The Carnivalesque in Eighteenth Century English Culture and Fiction [Electronic Version]. Stanford C.A: Stanford University Press.

Corrie, E. (2010). Simulation and Sartorial Subversion in 19th and 21st Century Sensation Fiction. London: Routledge.

Gamble, S. (2009). 'You cannot impersonate what you are': Questions of Authenticity in the neo-Victorian novel. in R. Barreca and M.E Mitchelll (eds.). Literature. London: Faber.

Mullan, J. (2006). Inside Knowledge: Intertextuality in Fingersmith. Retrieved December 8, 2013, from http://www.theguardian.com/books/2006/jun/03/sarahwaters.

Munns, J & Richards, P. (1999). The Clothes that wear us: Essays on dressing and transgressing. London: Associated University Press.

Waters, S. (2002). Fingersmith. London: Virago Press.

Creating the past
Sartorial and subversion
Identity and the self
Full transcript