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NEMLA 2015 Toronto

Steampunk Femininity: Recasting the Angel in the House

An artistic and literary creative force, especially in graphic novels such as Girl Genius and A League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and in young adult novels such as Phillip Reeve’s Larklight (2006) and Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan (2009), Steampunk is an organic development of Victorian fantasy, because it adds a fully realized science fiction component to an already solidified hybrid genre. Importantly, Steampunk has emerged as a strong feminist voice that simultaneously addresses contemporary and current discourses on femininity and masculinity through a retelling of an alternate past that rethinks the function Victorian gender roles. Central to Steampunk’s critique of the British patriarchy and Empire is its consistent creation of intelligent, independent, creative, and powerful female heroines the likes of which we have never seen in Victorian literature. Especially in contemporary Young Adult novels and graphic novels, characters like Mina Harker in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Deryn Sharp in Leviathan, Sophie Hatter in Howl’s Moving Castle and Myrtle and Mrs. Mumby in Larklight extend even Victorians’ critique of empire by subverting woman’s place in the domestic realm and abandoning the image of woman as the ‘angel in the house.’

Area: British, Women’s and Gender Studies

For questions, contact Tali Noimann cnoimann@bmcc.cuny.edy. Please do not email email your submission. Use the link below to submit a 300-word abstract and a short bio.

Link to session submission:

Deadline for abstracts Sept. 30, 2014