Department

English

Date

Spring 2020

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (M.A.)

Type of Paper/Work

Essay

Advisors

Dr. Alexis Easley, Dr. Martin Warren, Dr. Beth Rodgers

Abstract

Gordon Browne’s illustrations for L. T. Meade’s The Sorceress of the Strand feature visual repetition of illuminated, exposed female victims and a shadowed, observing male detective to reflect cultural stereotypes of women as both beauty-obsessed consumers and beautiful objects of visual consumption. By mirroring these stereotypes, the illustrations interact with and reveal the consumeristic villainy behind another visual element of the Strand: its advertisements, which use images of women’s bodies to sell merchandise and turn female readers’ attention to their own physical deficiencies. Depictions of the detective’s scrutinizing gaze invite consideration of the Strand’s relationship with its female audience within this consumeristic context. At the same time, Browne’s depictions of Madame Sara and Helen Sherwood complicate the serial’s implicit argument about women’s status as passive consumers by both revealing the perils of obsessive beauty culture and encouraging women readers to resist objectification within consumer culture by turning their own critical gaze upon it.

Keywords

Literature

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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