Literary Identification from Charlotte Bronte to Tsitsi Dangarembga
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: The Ohio State University Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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Ack nowl edgments
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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; to Dr. Nancy Olson and Dr. Victoria Mor-...
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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, as well as of memoirs, essays, and interviews that record reading experiences, I argue that this genre reproduces itself through the elaboration of bonds between and among readers, characters, and authors ...
The Novel of Formationand Literary Identification
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There were some books I wanted to possess even more intimately than by reading. I would clutch them to my heart and long to break through the chest wall, making them part of me, or else press my body into them, to burrow between the pages. When I was eight I felt this passion—androgynous, seeking both to penetrate and encompass—for ...
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In The narraTIveS discussed in this chapter—two partly autobio-graphical 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 char-acters, raise ethical questions about the responsibility of the self toward an other that also echo in the relations between the authors and their readers. ...
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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 obliga-tions, but the narrative trajectory suggests that she will continue to strive to do so, and that perhaps—as in the case of the sequels to Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter and Nervous Conditions—she will grow to under-...
Coming O ut
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...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 (in, for example, the work of Thomas Hardy and some of the “New Women” novelists), and sexual dis-course was a significant aspect of the innovation of some Modernist nov-...
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The vICTorIan noveL of formation, with which I began, negoti-ates 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, along with the growth of evolutionary narratives, reshaped the English novel. Within these modernizing psychological contexts, the subject could less plausi-...
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Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2012
Series Title: Theory and Interpretation of Narrative
Series Editor Byline: James Phelan, Peter J. Rabinowitz, and Robyn Warhol