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Appearing to Diminish: Female Development and the British Bildungsroman, 1750-1850 (Hardback)

Lorna Ellis

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ISBN 10: 1611481074 / ISBN 13: 9781611481075
Edité par Bucknell University Press, United States, 1999
Neuf(s) Etat : New Couverture rigide
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A propos de cet article

Language: English . Brand New Book. Through analyses of The History of Miss Betsy Thoughless, The Female Quixote, Evelina, Emma, Pride and Prejudice, and Jane Eyre, this genre study explores the ways in which the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British female Bildungsroman fuses female power and autonomy with a conservative reintegration with society. Although the works in question range across a century, their combination of socially conservative plots with feminist critiques of society is remarkable and rare and coincides with similar convergences of particular historical and social forces. The result, the early female Bildungsroman, embraces the Englightenment idealization of development as it simultaneously questions the Bildungsroman s underlying concept, individual subjectivity. Feminist critics of the past two decades have contended that the protagonists of early female Bildungsroman actually grow down rather than grow up. This study argues instead that these protagonists construct themselves as subjects by manipulating the signs of their objectification. By learning how the male gaze functions in their society, heroines learn to manipulate their appearance and behavior in order to gain some control over the self they project for others. The result is a model of development based on a fragmented view of the self, in which heroines learn to negotiate between their own sense of personal autonomy and society s more limited expectations. This study also briefly suggests that as later heroines, such as Maggie Tulliver and Edna Pontellier, publicly maintain the right to create their own worldview, they lose their ability to compromise and thus to survive within a hostile environment. Therefore, later novels of female development abandon the dialectic of reintegration and subversion that sustained the female Bildungsroman. N° de réf. du libraire ANB9781611481075

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Détails bibliographiques

Titre : Appearing to Diminish: Female Development ...

Éditeur : Bucknell University Press, United States

Date d'édition : 1999

Reliure : Hardback

Etat du livre :New

A propos de ce titre

Synopsis :

Through analyses of The History of Miss Betsy Thoughless, The Female Quixote, Evelina, Emma, Pride and Prejudice, and Jane Eyre, this genre study explores the ways in which the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British female Bildungsroman fuses female power and autonomy with a conservative reintegration with society.

Although the works in question range across a century, their combination of socially conservative plots with feminist critiques of society is remarkable and rare and coincides with similar convergences of particular historical and social forces. The result, the early female Bildungsroman, embraces the Englightenment idealization of "development" as it simultaneously questions the Bildungsroman's underlying concept, individual subjectivity.

Feminist critics of the past two decades have contended that the protagonists of early female Bildungsroman actually "grow down" rather than grow up. This study argues instead that these protagonists construct themselves as subjects by manipulating the signs of their objectification. By learning how the male gaze functions in their society, heroines learn to manipulate their appearance and behavior in order to gain some control over the self they project for others. The result is a model of development based on a fragmented view of the self, in which heroines learn to negotiate between their own sense of personal autonomy and society's more limited expectations.

This study also briefly suggests that as later heroines, such as Maggie Tulliver and Edna Pontellier, publicly maintain the right to create their own worldview, they lose their ability to compromise and thus to survive within a hostile environment. Therefore, later novels of female development abandon the dialectic of reintegration and subversion that sustained the female Bildungsroman.

About the Author:

Lorna Ellis received a doctorate in English literature from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1996. While a student, she developed and taught courses in women's literature, the history of the novel, genre studies, and college writing. She also assisted Donald H. Reiman and Neil Fraistat with their edition of The Complete Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelly (four volumes). She has presented papers at conferences ranging from sixteenth-century studies to Romanticism. Since graduating, she has helped faculty at the University of New Hampshire with grant-writing while working independently on her scholarship.

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