Ana Rosso

Department: English
Discipline: English
Research Centre/Unit: Centre for Victorian Studies

Project Summary

Representations of Female Eroticism and Desire in Britain and France: 1850 - 1900.

My thesis analyses the ways in which reflections on female eroticism and desire were addressed in the fiction written by British ‘New Woman’ writers and French naturalist, realist, and decadent authors. My initial hypothesis claimed the existence of an earlier awareness in France than in Britain of the issues surrounding female sexuality. The interest of a comparative study lies in elucidating the causes behind the engagement of French male authors in the articulation of a discourse on female sexuality which spread across different literary movements, and its anticipation of the essential concerns which would find expression in the New Woman texts of the British fin-de-siècle. How can, for example, Sarah Grand’s eugenic views on sexuality be compared with the purpose of some of the novels written by Zola within the framework of the overall purpose of the Rougon-Macquart novels? These two authors are in fact of particular interest to one of the thesis´s central preoccupations, which opposes the British moralistic tone to the French Naturalism. This work not only proposes to find what opposed such fictionalised presentations of female eroticism and desire, but to identify and contextualise their common preoccupations within a historical and theoretical framework by inscribing them within the contemporary debates which stemmed from this theme, and through a consideration of the critical reception of the works considered in both countries.

Supervisory Team

Supervisor: Professor Regenia Gagnier

Deputy Supervisor: Dr. Angelique Richardson

Wider Research Interests

I am very interested in film studies, and more specifically in the influence of literature on film. My MA dissertation focused on the complexity of transposing literary characters to the screen in Kubrick and Lyne's adaptations of Nabokov's Lolita. I was able to pursue this interest further at the University of Salamanca (Spain), where I wrote about the structural influences of the 'short story composite' genre on Altman's Short Cuts.

Other research interests: David Lynch; Postmodernism in literature and film; gothic literature.