Visual tropes collection of the week: Fainting and Swooning

You know, if my extensive education in feminism and gender issues has taught me anything, it’s that women of all walks of life have one thing in common: fainting at the slightest provocation.  Amirite, ladies?

Of course, it’s not unheard of for a gentleman to indulge in a swoon, too – and who’s to judge?  As long as he doesn’t make a habit of it, of course.

charles o'malley - swooning
Shock and awe in Brussels, from Charles O’Malley, the Irish Dragoon, 1879.
ethelinde or the fatal vow
The illustrator of Ethelinde, or, the Fatal Vow (1848) seems to have specialised in penny dreadfuls.  This lady’s just lucky she didn’t have to see the horrifying clown emerging from a coffin.
guy radner my lady's novelettes
A senseless lady, from Guy Rayner’s My Lady’s Novelettes (1871)
guy rayner - swooning gent
Guy Rayner also features a senseless man!  Or… maybe he’s just dead.
jack hinton
Ugh, it’s going to be a pain to get her back over these rocks now that she’s out cold.  (Jack Hinton, 1892)
illustrated penny tales
But wouldn’t it be more exciting if you waited until the train was about to run her over before you rescued her?  (Illustrated Penny Tales, 1894)
la vie americaine
This southern lady, as depicted in the no doubt very impartial and unbiased La Vie Americaine (1892), appears to be suffering from the vapours.
moreton - oh ferdinand.jpg
I can’t help but think that corsetry might have something to do with all this fainting.  (Moreton; or the Doomed House, 1847)
tales of the castle guard
I can’t go any further… You go on ahead.  And carry me with you!  (Tales of the Castle Guard, 1881)
twain - a tramp abroad.jpg
And to finish: a ponderous swoon from Mark Twain’s A Tramp Abroad, 1880.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s