Chapter

Silence

Wendy Parkins

in Jane Morris

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print April 2013 | ISBN: 9780748641277
Published online September 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780748684403 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748641277.003.0003
Silence

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The myth of Jane Morris’s strategic invalidism has often been linked with the trait of melancholy silence as defining aspects of her life and personality. This chapter re-interprets previous accounts in the light of recent studies of Victorian invalidism and feminine embodiment. In her letters, speaking and silence, action and immobility, illness and vitality emerge as pressing concerns, suggesting a historical subject who was highly aware of the conflicting possibilities afforded by her social position as the wife of William Morris. The silence of Jane Morris is shown to be open to a range of interpretations, from shyness to contemplativeness, and her letters reveal a woman who maintained networks of care and intimacy with a range of friends and family.

Keywords: Reticence; Invalidism; Victorian femininity

Chapter.  11533 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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