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The courtship novel, 1740-1820 : a feminized genre /
Katherine Sobba Green.
imprint
Lexington, Ky. : University Press of Kentucky, c1991.
description
184 p., [1] leaf of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0813117364 (alk. paper) :
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Lexington, Ky. : University Press of Kentucky, c1991.
isbn
0813117364 (alk. paper) :
catalogue key
2354540
 
Includes bibliographical references (p.[165]-179) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1991-09:
The best thing about this study is the desire it produces to read or reread the women novelists it examines. Noncanonical "discoveries" like Mary Collyer, Jane West, and Mary Brunton are read alongside Frances Burney, Charlotte Lennox, Eliza Haywood, and the long-canonical Jane Austen. The readings, which tend toward plot summary with commentary, are sometimes fresh and interesting. Readers will want to look at the texts themselves to test Green's hypotheses about the development of what she terms a "feminized genre," a genre primarily written for women and frequently written by them, the "courtship novel." Theoretically speaking, Green's model of textual analysis is rather disappointing. Readers may be unpersuaded by her efforts to construct novels about courtship and marriage as a separate genre. And her reliance upon Lawrence Stone's theory of the rise of affective individualism is suspect, though she claims to distance herself from it in the introduction. Similarly, she seems to wish to embrace poststructuralist theories of subjectivity and gender, but keeps falling back on essentialist conceptions of what it means to be a man or a woman, to be masculine or feminine. Yet her study is very approachable, and her evenhanded treatment of interesting and neglected women writers alongside their more famous counterparts is timely and useful. -D. Landry, Wayne State University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Argues persuasively that the slow shift away from the practice of arranged marriage to greater public acknowledgment of the affective values vested in the 'companionate marriage' was extremely important to the emerging feminist agenda, and so was the related issue of women's education." -- Times Higher Education Supplement
"Argues persuasively that the slow shift away from the practice of arranged marriage to greater public acknowledgment of the affective values vested in the 'companionate marriage' was extremely important to the emerging feminist agenda, and so was the related issue of women's education.-- Times Higher Education Supplement" -- Times Higher Education Supplement
"Tantalizes us with a number of new texts and many ideas." -- Eighteenth-Century Fiction
"Tantalizes us with a number of new texts and many ideas.-- Eighteenth-Century Fiction" -- Eighteenth-Century Fiction
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, September 1991
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Summaries
Main Description
" The period from her first London assembly to her wedding day was the narrow span of autonomy for a middle-class Englishwoman in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. For many women, as Katherine Sobba Green shows, the new ideal of companionate marriage involved such thoroughgoing revisions in self-perception that a new literary form was needed to represent their altered roles. That the choice among suitors ideally depended on love and should not be decided on any other grounds was a principal theme among a group of heroine-centered novels published between 1740 and 1820. During these decades, some two dozen writers, most of them women, published such courtship novels. Specifically aiming them at young women readers, these novelists took as their common purpose the disruption of established ideas about how dutiful daughters and prudent young women should comport themselves during courtship. Reading a wide range of primary texts, Green argues that the courtship novel was a feminized genre -- written about, by, and for women. She challenges contemporary readers to appreciate the subtleties of early feminism in novels by Eliza Haywood, Mary Collyer, Charlotte Lennox, Samuel Richardson, Frances Brooke, Fanny Burney, Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane West, Mary Brunton, Maria Edgeworth, and Jane Austen -- to recognize that these courtship novelists held in common a desire to reimagine the subject positions through which women understood themselves.

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