Date of Award

Spring 2016

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Liberal Studies


Dr. Ed Cohen

Second Advisor

Dr. Patrick Fleming


The Victorian and modern eras are known for being a time of great change. Victorian authors focused their works on the social, political, and religious upheaval that the country was experiencing during the period. They felt a strong sense of pride in their country, and there was always a sense of hope in their writing. These views are what draw the modern author to retell Victorian novels; yet, the modern writer removes the Victorian sense of hope and replaces it with the sense of the disillusionment which engulfed their era. In this paper, I examine the concept of intertextuality, the study of transactions between one work and a subsequent work, and use the theory to compare four sets of Victorian novels and their modern reinterpretation. When addressing the novel pairings, I focus on one central theme important to both novels: mental illness in Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë, and Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys; xenophobia in The Coral Island, by R.M. Ballantyne, and Lord of the Flies, by William Golding; domestic servitude in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson, and Mary Reilly, by Valerie Martin; and women’s rights in Tess of the d’Urbervilles, by Thomas Hardy, and The French Lieutenant’s Woman, John Fowles.

Rights Holder

Michelle L Strickland