Camus, Marianne Books
Professor Marianne Camus, born in 1949 and educated in France, spent ten years in England and then went back to France to obtain her PhD at Paris Sorbonne. She currently teaches at Djion University. She writes and publishes on gender in nineteenth century literature.2004 0-7734-6334-8
This book is an attempt to re-read the construction of the mad female characters of Dickens’ novels. A main aim is to demonstrate how social rules and forces differentiate mental derangement gender-wise, as far as its causes and manifestations are concerned, within what could be called, in Dickens’ fiction, a general human tendency toward mental derangement. A further aim is to qualify Dickens’ reputation for misogynistic blindness and prejudice. For if the man was trapped in Victorian patriarchal ideology, there is no doubt that the artist had a greater power of understanding and even empathy with all suffering human beings whatever their sex. This allowed him to create characters that go beyond the limits of the accepted feminine stereotypes of the time. Miss Wade, Mrs. Clennam, Miss Havisham or Mrs. Gamp are all in the varying degrees of madness more interesting than the angel in the house or the fallen woman, but also mentally much more complex than generally been thought.