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Sleeping Beauties in Victorian Britain

Cultural, Literary and Artistic Explorations of a Myth


Edited By Beatrice Laurent

Artists, scientists and the wider public of the Victorian era all seem to have shared a common interest in the myth of the Briar Rose and its contemporary implications, from the Pre-Raphaelites and late Victorian aesthetes to the fascinated crowds who visited Ellen Sadler, the real-life ‘Sleeping Maid’ who is reported to have slept from 1871 to 1880.
The figure of the beautiful reclining female sleeper is a recurring theme in the Victorian imagination, invoking visual, literary and erotic connotations that contribute to a complex range of readings involving aesthetics, gender definitions and contemporary medical opinion. This book compiles and examines a corpus of Sleeping Beauties drawn from Victorian medical reports, literature and the arts and explores the significance of the enduring revival of the myth.
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Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek.Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data is available on the Internet at A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data:Laurent, Béatrice.  Sleeping Beauties in Victorian Britain : Cultural, Literary and Artistic Explorations of a Myth / Béatrice Laurent.    pages cm. -- (Cultural Interactions: Studies in the Relationship between the Arts ; 33)Includes bibliographical references and index.ISBN 978-3-0343-1745-0 (alk. paper)1. English literature--19th century--History and criticism. 2. Sleeping Beauty (Tale) in literature. 3. Women in literature. 4. Women in art. 5. Mythology in literature. 6. Art and mythology. 7. Sleep in literature. 8. Sleep in art. 9. Sleeping Beauty (Tale)--History and criticism. I. Title. PR468.W6L38 2014 820.9’35220934--dc23


ISSN 1662-0364ISBN 978-3-0343-1745-0 (print)ISBN 978-3-0353-0660-6 (eBook)

Cover Image: Edward Burne-Jones, The Rose Bower, final panel of The Briar Rose series, 1890, Buscot Park, Faringdon, Oxfordshire.© The Faringdon Trust. Reproduced with permission.

© Peter Lang AG, International Academic Publishers, Bern 2015Hochfeldstrasse 32, CH-3012 Bern,,,

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