Evil Feminine and Untamed Nerves


Le Fanu

How to Cite

Rossi, S. (2023). Evil Feminine and Untamed Nerves: Sensationalism in J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s The Rose and the Key. Linguæ & - Journal of Modern Languages and Cultures, 23(1), 23–38. https://doi.org/10.14276/l.v23i1.3617


Starting with a cultural-historical framing of late-Victorian sensation fiction and focusing on deranged and rebellious women that populate sensation narratives, this article explores the figure of J. Sheridan Le Fanu and his artistic closeness to late-Victorian sensationalism. Having as mainstay Le Fanu’s familiarity with late-nineteenth-century psychiatry, this paper pivots around the sensational that permeates Le Fanu’s The Rose and the Key, a work that never experienced the fame, for instance, of Uncle Silas or Carmilla. Paying attention to the stormy relationship between Maud and Barbara – daughter and mother, – and to the countless secrets guarded by the latter, in this article I look at The Rose and the Key as a denunciation of a highly corruptible psychiatric system, much oriented towards repression, especially in the case of women.

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Copyright (c) 2023 Stefano Rossi