By Ruth Parkin-Gounelas
Women's novels have generally been learn as 'subjective'. via an exam of 3 generations of women's fiction within the post-Romantic interval, this ebook demanding situations conventional readings of women's novels and argues that fiction writing for girls has frequently been a question of self-erasure instead of self-inscription. particularly, it examines the altering innovations, occasionally collusive and occasionally rebellious, which Charlotte Bronte, Olive Schreiner and Katherine Mansfield hired of their tentative undertaking of inscribing lady subjectivity into the radical and tale shape.
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Additional resources for Fictions of the Female Self: Charlotte Brontë, Olive Schreiner, Katherine Mansfield
The book was part of a joint scheme by the three sisters each to write a novel. The circumstances under which it was written are well known: the pacing around the parlour after the rest of the family were asleep, the reading Charlotte Bronte: The Quick of Her Nature 41 aloud of excerpts for advice and comment, and then the difficulties in publication. ) Less is known, unfortunately, about Bronte's thoughts as she put together her first mature novel. There has been much speculation as to why she made the fundamental decision to avoid the female viewpoint in The Professor.
Elizabeth Gaskell records how Bronte described the process to her: I asked her whether she had ever taken opium, as the description given of its effects in 'Villette' was so exactly like what I had experienced . . She replied, that she had never, to her knowledge, taken a grain of it in any shape, but that she had followed the process she always adopted when she had to describe anything which had not fallen within her own experience; she had thought intently on it for many and many a night before falling to sleep, - wondering what it was like, or how it would be, - till at length, sometimes after the progress of her story had been arrested at this one point for weeks, she wakened up in the morning with all clear before her, as if she had in reality gone through the experience, and then could describe it, word for word, as it had happened.
The inherent contradictions of being a woman and a writer in a society that defined writing as a male activity undermined the projects of those women authors who sought to comply with its norms. The division between the 'woman' and the 'writer' seems to me to need emphasising before it can be dissolved. Each of my three authors had to confront this division as a major obstacle in her attempt to write. For this reason, I devote two chapters to each author. The first of the two chapters attempts to set out the ways in which each woman perceived her task of fiction-making and the strategies she felt she should employ in her search for accommodation within, or divergence from, the dominant ideology.
Fictions of the Female Self: Charlotte Brontë, Olive Schreiner, Katherine Mansfield by Ruth Parkin-Gounelas