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Jane MorrisThe Burden of History$
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Wendy Parkins

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748641277

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748641277.001.0001

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(p.21) Chapter 1 Scandal
Jane Morris

Wendy Parkins

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter scrutinises the persistent association between Jane Morris and sexual scandal in biographies and scholarship associated with the Pre-Raphaelites. Her two known affairs, with Rossetti and with Blunt, are re-examined through diverse contemporaries sources. Close attention is paid to correspondence concerning Rossetti’s psychological breakdown among his inner circle of friends in 1871 as a key resource in the perpetuation of a negative view of Jane Morris while the account of her affair with Blunt is examined through Blunt’s Secret Memoirs, a multi-volume journal describing his extra-marital dalliances and obsessions. Against the prevailing depiction of Jane Morris as a femme fatale, this chapter argues that a closer examination of her letters not only reveals a high degree of self-knowledge concerning her status as an object of exchange between well-known men but also attests to a sense of emotional agency despite the constraints of Victorian marriage and gender expectations.

Keywords:   Sexuality, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Wilfrid Scawen Blunt

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