By reconsidering the concept of a “women’s literary tradition,” this study aims to uncover the links binding together Austen, Brontë, and Gaskell in a shared, female project of literary inquiry and political reformation. Reading the physical, material dimensions of the fictional environments (female movement, bodies, and socially defined spaces) in Mansfield Park, Villette, and North and South, we can see that all three novels engage in acts of subversive recuperation. After problematizing incumbent systems of masculine authority, these texts all work to infuse fresh relevancy and import into traditional value systems. Old is made new again as the influence of the novels’ heroines is seen to initiate processes of thoughtful social renovation able to rescue these young women from positions of threatening marginalization and able to realign existing patriarchal constructs with evolving communal needs.
|Commitee:||Blankley, Elyse, Hultgren, Neil|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 54/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Comparative literature, Womens studies, British and Irish literature|
|Keywords:||Austen, jane, Bronte, charlotte, Feminism, Gaskell, elizabeth, Nineteenth-century, Patriarchy|
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