Abstract

Frances Burney’s novel Cecilia, or Memoirs of an Heiress (1782) provides a crucial counter to studies of the marriage plot. Burney’s novel, instead of accepting marriage as a convenient solution to the ills of a decadent, late eighteenth-century society, represents marriage as both mollifying and contributing to the oppression of women in a patriarchal society. Thus, Cecilia’s representation of matrimony both subverts and preserves the ideological dominance of marital unions, demonstrating that the ultimate crisis therein is a crisis over women’s self-possession and self-definition.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1522-9270
Print ISSN
0039-3657
Pages
pp. 559-578
Launched on MUSE
2015-09-03
Open Access
No
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