Elizabeth Siddal, icon of Pre-Raphaelite art, from Millais’ Ophelia to the countless portraits painted by Rossetti, was often represented in languid poses, with her eyes closed or in connection with sleep and death symbols such as the poppy. The representations of her by male artists have been widely explored by art critics, while her biographers have insisted on her laudanum addiction and her alleged suicide. Her own pictorial and poetic production, on the other hand, was consigned to oblivion until the advent of Gender Studies and feminist Art History.Drawing on these critical approaches, this paper examines Siddal’s self-representational strategies in her paintings and poetry: the topos of sleep connected with death is used by Siddal in her own verses. Siddal adopted and re-invented the traditional role of the sleeping beauty, the passive female figure, the woman victimized by male love who sees in death, sleep and altered states of consciousness a possibility of utopian female freedom. Her use of sleep and death images and the ‘opiate’ atmosphere of her poems can be read as a form of liberation from the conventional role that was imposed upon her, and as a subtle strategy of rebellion – a critique of Victorian gender ideology.
|Titolo:||Sleep and Liberation: the Opiate World of Elizabeth Siddal|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2014|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||2.1 Contributo in volume (Capitolo o Saggio)|