Treating Dora in His Natural Life


This article concentrates on the characterisation of Dora, the heroine in the serialised version of His Natural Life. The author wants ‘to cast new light on Clarke’s literary aesthetic, on his philosophy, by examining the treatment of his heroine in the context of the middle-class Victorian market for popular books’ (67). By treatment he means not so much the changes from the serialised version (Dora) to the book version (Sylvia), but rather ‘both a male personage’s moral behaviour towards Dora, and his opinion or construction of her character’. He argues that Clarke is able ‘to stage a debate in the text about the philosophical implications and relative merits of literary modes, namely … “realism” and “romance”, and, in the end, strike a balance between the two which is manifested in the intricacies of his own characterisation of Dora’ (68).

The full text of this essay is available to ALS subscribers

Please sign in to access this article and the rest of our archive.

Published 1 May 2003 in Volume 21 No. 1. Subjects: Characterisation, Colonial literature & writers, Drafts & revisions, Popular fiction, Realism, Romance (Literary form), Writer-reader relations, Marcus Clarke.

Cite as: Henderson, Ian. ‘Treating Dora in His Natural Life.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 21, no. 1, 2003, doi: 10.20314/als.bb51302536.