Gilbert And Gubar's The Madwoman In The Attic

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The question of feminine insanity and madness within literature has been a topic of much debate within literary studies, particularly among those scholars who focus on feminist readings of the texts in question. Many of these new readings and analyses are based on or heavily rely on the influential work of Gilbert and Gubar, who focused on the issue of female madness within Victorian fiction in their work The Madwoman in the Attic. As they posit in their work, female authors of the time were confined to only two models of femaleness within their works, either the pure angel or the untamed madwoman. Here they also introduce the idea of the double, which harkens back to the dark doppelgänger from the gothic tradition. As they explain in the preface to the text, many of these work is dealing with female madness while seemingly placing two models of femininity opposite one another are in actuality “fantasies in which maddened doubles functioned as asocial surrogates for docile selves” (Gilbert and Gruber 6). Though the model of the madwoman in the attic was largely based around Brontë’s Bertha Mason, Gilbert and Gruber themselves have dubbed the aforementioned work as “Rebecca's aunt” (ibid. 336). With the many similarities and allusions du Maurier makes to Brontë’s work, Rebecca lends itself particularly well for…show more content…
Danvers is her indiscriminate, promiscuous, and powerful way of approaching female sexuality. Because of the mystery that surrounds her, Rebecca is framed as openly sexual, particularly when compared to the pure and repressed heroine. As Petersen explains in “Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca: The Shadow and the Substance” that ““Rebecca’s search for identity— her being elaborately associated with the uncanny, the covert, the taboo— takes popular romance through the darkly Gothic and into the domain of modern understandings of the sexual” (61). As Mrs. Danvers explains to the
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