Romani Studies

The Gypsy as Trope in Victorian and Modern British Literature

Romani Studies (2006), 16, (1), 31–42.

Abstract

The Gypsy is a ubiquitous figure in British literature, often functioning as a symbol of escape from the dominant social mores governing sex and gender roles and the ownership of capital. While in such nineteenth-century works as Jane Austen's Emma and Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre these associations are implicit, in the early twentieth century in the works of D. H. Lawrence (The Virgin and the Gypsy) and Virginia Woolf (Orlando), the functions of the Gypsy figures are comparatively overt and give considerable insight into British constructions of Romani identity. This paper examines the contrast between Victorian and Modernist representations of the Gypsy and the transformation in the way Gypsy identity is represented by non-Romani writers in the twentieth century.

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Author details

Bardi, Abby