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Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political…
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Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel (original 1987; edition 1990)

by Nancy Armstrong (Author)

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This treatment of the rise of the novel argues that novels written by and for women in 18th- and 19th-century England paved the way for the rise of the modern English middle class.
Member:JacksonFoley
Title:Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel
Authors:Nancy Armstrong (Author)
Info:Oxford University Press (1990), Edition: Reprint, 320 pages
Collections:(1) Women's History, Writing, Theory, (2) Literary Theory, Crit, Anthologies
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Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel by Nancy Armstrong (1987)

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Though it’s almost twenty years since this book was first published, there are parts of it that feel bracingly fresh. At the heart of her argument is the contention that while conventional histories may emphasize women’s domestic subjugation throughout the nineteenth century, domestic fiction suggests that femininity (and female novelists) possessed great power through ideology, a power that Armstrong argues they used to construct the ideal household and through it, British middle class identity itself.. This claim, in particular, is still pertinent to much criticism being published today.
Like other fine critics, Armstrong leaves me with as many questions as answers. How does domestic fiction stand in relation to other fictional genres? Or is all fiction domestic in some form or another? If the feminine body is nothing but words, is masculinity simply a creation of that feminine subjectivity? Or is it an assemblage of domesticated masculinity plus some other body of texts? I also feel that in tracing the ascension of middle class subjectivity to a hegemonic position, Armstrong may overstate the reach of middle class culture. Is there no alternative conception of femininity that it could not successfully incorporate or abject? ( )
  Pflynn | Jul 11, 2007 |
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This treatment of the rise of the novel argues that novels written by and for women in 18th- and 19th-century England paved the way for the rise of the modern English middle class.

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