By Susan Mendus, Jane Rendall
Sexuality and Subordination makes use of the insights of a variety of disciplines to envision the development of gender in nineteenth-century Britain and France. With contributions from heritage, literature, sociology and philosophy, its interdisciplinary process demonstrates the level to which a typical concentration can light up difficulties inaccessible to any unmarried self-discipline. 'Victorianism' is usually understood to intend sexual double criteria, hypocrisy and prudery one of the center periods. yet, as this assortment indicates, the illustration of sexuality within the 19th century used to be extra various and complicated than is usually discovered. either paintings and literature element to the deployment of sexual metaphors and imagery, and the language of informed public opinion used to be formed through the dichotomy among brain and subject, among rationality and sexuality. The participants to this quantity discover how ladies, in wondering their subordination, needed to problem a building of femininity which imposed sexual lack of know-how.
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Extra resources for Sexuality and Subordination: Interdisciplinary Studies of Gender in the Nineteenth Century
Balzac had been helped by Madame de Berny, and it was another mistress, Madame de Castries, who had introduced him to the salons of the Fitz-Jameses and Madame Récamier—as Nathan is introduced by Blondet to Madame de Montcornet and Lady Dudley. Nathan, transformed from a Bohême into a dandy, following Marie in the Bois de Boulogne, is like Balzac courting the marquise de Castries. Nathan writes for the theatre; Balzac had just completed his play L’Ecole des ménages. Nathan had left-wing opinions in his youth as Balzac did; he is veering towards ‘juste milieu’ as Balzac had to Carlism.
Thus Eve is saved from the serpent. The apple of adultery is gently removed from her hand just as she was about to take the fatal bite. The husband gains her a reprieve, ensuring a happy ending, keeping her in the earthly paradise of what she now comes to appreciate as a happy marriage. It is not a usual fictional situation in the nineteenth century. Indeed, I can think of no other novel, in France or in 31 NICOLE WARD JOUVE England, in which the husband is the saviour of his wife. Darcy saves Lydia Bennett by getting Wickham to marry her, in Pride and Prejudice; Louisa Gradgrind is saved from elopement with Harthouse by Sissy Jupes in Hard Times; Natasha, in War and Peace, from elopement with Anatol Kuragin, by Pierre, who at that time is not even her fiancé— Prince André is.
Extracting an intelligible narrative and a moral and political parable from it is rather like following lines, or the variations of a colour in it. For them to have their meaning, you have to pay attention to what else there is. It is an impossible task. Roland Barthes has shown how huge is the complexity of a Balzac text by producing some 300 pages of analysis of a story thirty pages long, Sarrasine in his S/Z. A Daughter 37 NICOLE WARD JOUVE of Eve is 130 pages. To do anything like justice to it I would need several volumes.