Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

The path from a readerly question—What do we mean when we talk about identifying with literary characters?—to critical conclusions has been a winding one, and I’m grateful for the help I’ve received along the way: to Catherine Gallagher for early comments and to Margaret Homans for encouragement throughout; ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-16

This book seeks to account for the persistence of a particular genre of realist fiction, the novel of formation, from nineteenth-century English through contemporary Anglophone literature. Through readings of novels by nineteenth-, twentieth-, and twenty-first-century women writers, ...

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Chapter One • The Novel of Formation and Literary Identification

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pp. 17-42

This passage from Lynne Sharon Schwartz’s memoir, Ruined by Reading: A Life in Books (1996), demonstrates concisely many aspects of literary identification. The first aspect is the centrality of representations of literary identification to the diegesis of narratives of formation, both fictional and autobiographical: ...

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Chapter Two • Coming Together: George Eliot, Simone de Beauvoir, and Tsitsi Dangarembga

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pp. 43-93

In the narratives discussed in this chapter—two partly autobiographical novels, George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss (1859–60) and Tstsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions (1988), and one volume of autobiography, Simone de Beauvoir’s Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter (1959)—relationships of identification within the narrative, among characters, ...

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Chapter Three • Coming Apart: Charlotte Brontë, Jamaica Kincaid, and Tsitsi Dangarembga

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pp. 94-136

In the narratives discussed in the previous chapter, relations of identification between protagonist and counterpart serve as templates for thinking about the obligations of the self to others. The protagonist may not succeed, by the narrative’s end, wholly in meeting those obligations, but the narrative trajectory suggests that she will continue to strive to do so, ...

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Chapter Four • Coming Out: Virginia Woolf, Radclyffe Hall, and Jeanette Winterson

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pp. 137-195

A new kind of subject—the subject of sexuality—became possible for fictional discourse at the beginning of the twentieth century. This is true in two senses: In one sense, the subject, or topic, of sexual behavior began appearing more openly in English fiction in the last several decades of the nineteenth century ...

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Afterword

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pp. 196-198

The Victorian novel of formation, with which I began, negotiates among competing models of life story—the providential, the picaresque, and the psychoanalytic. The post-Enlightenment rise of a subject defined more by interiority—self-regulation, self-narration, and affect—than relations of external hierarchy or control, ...

Notes

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pp. 199-211

Works Cited

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pp. 212-222

Index

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pp. 223-230