This thesis utilizes the Hegelian concept of self-consciousness development to explore the formation of the autonomous woman within the New Woman movement of the British fin de siècle and the literature of women writers in 1980s Post-Mao China. The sexual figuration of the New Woman via an unremitting male gaze as well as the absence of individual awareness due to limited reflective self-assessment lead to a misrepresentation of the female figurehead in fin de siècle Britain. Through an in-depth study of literature by Charlotte Mew, Victoria Cross, George Egerton, and Thomas Hardy, the reader can identify key points of failure within the figuration, psychological development, and socio-cultural creation of the New Woman image which forces her into a singular, static definition of woman. Conversely, Post-Mao women writers’ focus upon realistic representations of individual women enables the female voice to be heard. Authors such as Hu Xin, Lu Xin’er, and Fang Fang connect their female characters to real women through shared suffering and internal reflection. The unity of these individuals enables Post-Mao women writers to create an authentic representation of the autonomous Chinese woman. By utilizing a lens created from Hegel’s theory of self-consciousness development and mimetic reflection. The unity of these individuals enables Post-Mao women writers to create an authentic representation of the autonomous Chinese woman. By utilizing a lens created from Hegel’s theory of self-consciousness development and mimetic reflection, the reader can identify those qualities that are essential to the development of female autonomy and individual freedom.
Date of publication
Dr. Carolyn Tilghman, Dr. Hui Wu, Dr. Catherine Ross
Master of Arts
Buro, Robyn L., "The Formation of the Autonomous Woman Through a Hegelian Lens: A Comparative Study of the British Fin de Siecle "New Woman" and the Post-Mao "Amazing" Woman" (2017). English Department Theses. Paper 9.