ABSTRACT. The following paper examines the intriguing configurations of space in Tracy Chevalier’s first novel, The Virgin Blue (1997). Focusing on the plot’s exciting, intertwining parallel narratives of two young women born four centuries apart, I will discuss the various patterns of enclosure and liberation related to “female” space as expressed through the women’s mysterious visions of the color blue. From a critical standpoint that relies heavily on theories developed by Michel Foucault and Luce Irigaray, I will address issues such as the dichotomy between public and private, knowledge and power, or compliance and rebellion, in an attempt to explain why Chevalier’s protagonists problematize anew the notion of gendered space. Ultimately, I argue that The Virgin Blue not only increases our awareness of “spatial relations,” but also offers alternatives that deserve a closer look.

Keywords: contemporary women’s fiction; gender; spatial relations

How to cite: Michailidou, Artemis (2018). “Parallel Narratives, Colorful Visions: Enclosure and Liberation in Tracy Chevalier’s The Virgin Blue,” Journal of Research in Gender Studies 8(2): 11–28.

Received 18 August 2017 • Received in revised form 20 September 2017
Accepted 21 September 2017 • Available online 15 October 2017


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Ph.D., The University of Exeter;
Hellenic Military Academy

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