Esther Summerson's Biblical Judgment:Queen Esther and the Fallen Woman in Bleak House

Carruthers, Joanne Amy (2020) Esther Summerson's Biblical Judgment:Queen Esther and the Fallen Woman in Bleak House. Religion and Literature, 50 (3). ISSN 0888-3769

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Abstract

In criticism to date, the intertextual link between Esther Summerson and the biblical Queen Esther has been explained as one that invokes “womanly virtue”. By drawing on the meanings that had accumulated around the name “Esther” in the Victorian period, this article argues instead for Queen Esther’s significance as a sexual transgressor. Manifested in the protagonist’s illegitimacy, sexual transgression makes Esther Summerson a quilting point for layers of biblical allusion to the fallen woman and judgment within Bleak House. Linked to John 8’s woman caught in adultery and the novel’s repeated invocation of apocalyptic judgment, attention to Queen Esther reveals the novel’s negotiation of different kinds of judgment to avert condemnation of the fallen woman whilst underlining the need for the denunciation of social ills.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Religion and Literature
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1200/1212
Subjects:
ID Code:
125437
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
13 Jun 2018 13:40
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
05 Oct 2020 00:25