Olive Schreiner, Marie Corelli and the anxieties of female authorship
MetadataShow full item record
Altmetrics Handle Statistics
Altmetrics DOI Statistics
This article explores the competing models of gendered authorship emerging from Marie Corelli’s multiple print encounters with Olive Schreiner. Where Schreiner is cast by Corelli as the modish darling of a snobbish literary intelligentsia, who is beloved by critics and ignored by readers, Corelli herself emerges from her writings about Schreiner as the democratic author par excellence, a writer for the people rather than the press. In spite of the clear common ground that bridged their experience as celebrity authors, Corelli, in her writings about Schreiner, sought only to elucidate the ideological and artistic gulf that she identified as existing between them. As this essay will show, Corelli’s public resistance to Schreiner was a strike not only against an unfair male literary system of which she perceived Schreiner to be an arbitrary beneficiary, but also a rejection of the rhetoric of literary value that emerged in Britain during the fin de siècle. What Corelli failed to understand was that to be a woman writer at this time, however successful, was to occupy an ambiguous position within dominant, masculinist discourses of artistic distinction. A fuller exploration of Schreiner and Corelli’s positions within and experiences of the late-Victorian literary marketplace not only reveals the frailty of Correlli’s oppositional construction in real terms, but also signals the extent to which it was their shared status as women writers that was the key determinant shaping their respective experiences of professional authorship.
Gill , C 2020 , ' Olive Schreiner, Marie Corelli and the anxieties of female authorship ' , Journal of Victorian Culture , vol. Advance Articles , vcaa026 . https://doi.org/10.1093/jvcult/vcaa026
Journal of Victorian Culture
Copyright © 2020 Leeds Trinity University. This work has been made available online in accordance with publisher policies or with permission. Permission for further reuse of this content should be sought from the publisher or the rights holder. This is the author created accepted manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1093/jvcult/vcaa026
Items in the St Andrews Research Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.