TitleIndividualism and the ruined woman in print and film
NameMercurio, Gina (author), Sill, Geoffrey (chair), Ledoux, Ellen (internal member), Rutgers University, Camden Graduate School,
Women--England--Social conditions--18th century,
Prostitution in literature,
Prostitution in motion pictures,
Poverty in literature,
Defoe, Daniel,1661?-1731. Fortunes and misfortunes of the famous Moll Flanders--Criticism and interpretation,
Densham, Pen. Moll Flanders (Motion picture : 1996)--Criticism and interpretation,
Attwood, David, director. Fortunes and misfortunes of Moll Flanders (Television program : 1996)--Criticism and interpretation
DescriptionThe 18th Century is undeniably rife with social and political unrest. The highly capitalist nature of society created highly striated social groups ranging from the financially elite to the abjectly poor and morally weak. Minority groups always suffer in these environments and in England the women were truly subject to the depravity of the era. Women as a social group were set up to and expected to fail. Without money and status a woman could amount to nothing more than a wet nurse or a prostitute. Yet, in these stations women were labeled “ruined” and they were ostracized by those in power. This semester I hope to research the social station of women in 18th Century women by examining culture, history, and literature. Specifically, I hope to target Defoe as a major author who sympathizes his ruined women characters in order to show the flaws in 18th Century society. He examines Moll Flanders as the pitiable prostitute, and manages to showcase the struggles of womanhood despite his role as a male author. Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders introduces a liberated female character who defies the standards of society in order to reach a measure of personal individualism. I will also examine other literary characters who enter into prostitution in order to exist within society and the way in which other authors present these women. Are these fictionalized characters representations of reality? Are they accurate? Regardless, they comment on and represent standard stereotypes of the 18th Century and its capitalist flaws. What does this say about the authors, the 18th Century population, the place of women, and England’s economic stratifications?
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Gina Mercurio
CollectionCamden Graduate School Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.