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Extra info for Cultural Constructions of the Femme Fatale: From Pandora’s Box to Amanda Knox

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Jennifer Hedgecock (2008) considers the place of the femme fatale in Victorian literature and Bram Dijkstra (1988) looks at both literary and visual arts; both find her to be a signifier of patriarchal anxieties about the rise of the ‘new woman’ and of wider social and political change. Adriana Craciun (2003) focuses on the first half of the century and considers the connections with debates about gender as culturally or biologically constructed, and Heather Braun (2012) situates her in the culture of the ‘long nineteenth century’, tracking her rise to ubiquity and eventual clichéd over-familiarity by the beginning of the twentieth century.

5). In Theogony, she is presented to ‘both immortal gods and mortal men’ and ‘they were seized with wonder when they saw that precipitous trap, more than mankind can manage’ (Hesiod 1988, p. 20). While the biblical account has Eve punished for her sin with the pain of childbirth, in Hesiod’s myth it is men who are punished: ‘For from her is descended the female sex, a great affliction to mortals as they dwell with their husbands – no fit partners for accursed Poverty, but only for Plenty’ (a torturous way of accusing women of profligacy).

6 The murder of Emile L’Angelier comes at a particularly fascinating moment in the history of British crime. According to one London physician, writing in 1849, the crime of arsenic murder had become by the middle of the century ‘a national disgrace’ (cited in Whorton 2010, p. xiii; emphasis in the original). Whorton offers a number of reasons for the poisoning epidemic, including rising poverty (many of the killings were by mothers driven to infanticide, in despair at the number of mouths they had to feed) as well as, interestingly (given the connection to the Ruth Snyder case), the growth of the life insurance industry (pp.

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