The “New Fallen Woman” in George Gissing’s The Odd Women

  • Alora Hayward University of Winnipeg


In this essay I present the new concept of “The New Fallen Woman,” which merges the Victorian notions of “The New Woman” and “The Fallen Woman”. I analyze Rhoda Nunn and Monica Widdowson, characters in George Gissing’s’ The Odd Women, and especially focus on various examples of their supposed “New Woman” and “Fallen Woman” sides. By examining Nunn and Widdowson, my essay questions the validity of these Victorian Era social categories. “The New Fallen Woman,” my interpretation of the way these characters are represented, is a new and productive way of understanding how Gissing represents women in The Odd Women. “The New Fallen Woman,” I suggest, helps to promote the idea that there is a positivity found within categories which can otherwise, especially in contemporary Victorian criticism, be deemed negative.