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Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2044-2823
  • E-ISSN: 2044-2831


The article addresses the problem of representing Victorian female subjectivity in contemporary films set in the nineteenth century - including both film adaptations of Victorian classics (such as Campion's Portrait of a Lady [1996]) and examples of contemporary Victoriana (such as Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge! [2001], Burton's Sweeney Todd [2007] and the animated The Corpse Bride [2005], and Campion's The Piano [1993]). It focuses on the use of the corset and the practice of tight-lacing as visual and ideological shorthand in filmic representations of repressed Victorian female subjectivity. The stress of the analysis is on the recurring glorified image of the corseted woman, usually juxtaposed to a caged bird, placed inside cage-like interiors. Tracing the history of these images to the nineteenth-century representation of women in fine art, the article investigates the significance of these images for interpretations of female agency in contemporary Victoriana.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): cage; corset; film; subjectivity; tight-lacing; Victoriana/Victorian woman
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