Five Thousand for Justice: The Use of English Folklore in the Novels of KJ Charles

Masaryk University
Publication year

Here's the abstract:

This thesis aims to identify and interpret how the contemporary British author KJ Charles uses and queers English folklore in her M/M neo-Victorian romance novels with paranormal/fantasy elements and to consider the purpose and effect of this method. The analysis is focused mainly on queering in connection to sexuality and gender but, when applicable, includes the question of social inequality and privilege too, as these are often interconnected. The usage of the individual folklore elements in the novels identified by close reading is then compared against their historical, social and cultural background in order to identify recurring relevant themes.


For the purpose of this thesis, two series of novels were selected: A Charm of Magpies series and the Green Men universe novels.
All of the selected novels are M/M neo-Victorian romances, except for one novel set in the post-WWI period. All of them are historical and at the same time paranormal romances (22)


The term queer is understood in this thesis also in its broader sense, i.e. queer as “whatever is at odds with the normal, the legitimate, the dominant” and queering as “radical questioning of social and cultural norms, notions of gender, reproductive sexuality and the family” (Halperin 62, Smith 280). Charles’s use of folklore to challenge heteronormativity is quantitatively the main but not the sole focus of the thesis, as the question of heteronormativity is very often interwoven with and impossible to separate from other issues, especially class and privileges connected to it. (26)