New PDF release: Language and Gender in American Fiction: Howells, James,

By Elsa Nettels

ISBN-10: 1349114065

ISBN-13: 9781349114061

ISBN-10: 1349114081

ISBN-13: 9781349114085

Elsa Nettels's research of yankee fiction and feedback of the post-Civil struggle period finds the existing assumptions approximately language and gender as published in definitions of masculine and female, and in comparisons of men's and women's speech and writing. Chapters on William Dean Howells, Henry James, Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, and Utopian fiction convey how person writers either bolstered and subverted gender ideology of their therapy of language and social classification and of their building of discussion and the discourse of first and 3rd individual narrators.

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Additional resources for Language and Gender in American Fiction: Howells, James, Wharton and Cather

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Their representations of character in fiction may contradict statements in their criticism and letters; within a novel the impression created by characters and their words may be at odds with what the narrator says about them; figurative language may support assumptions the writer explicitly rejects elsewhere. To begin with Howells starts with the writer who most fully embodies the struggle of conflicting impulses, the writer who declared himself a 'heretic about women', and maintained that 'this question of the sex of the novelist can be safely disregarded in the study of the novel', 83 but whose fiction consistently supports the conventional assumptions about gender that he repudiated in his interviews and criticism.

In such novels as A Woman's Reason, The Rise of Silas Lapham and April Hopes, he portrays the corrupting effects upon the whole society of an ideology that confines the sexes to separate spheres and deprives women of purposeful work in the world. But the criticism is subverted by William Dean Howells 35 narrators who uncritically voice assumptions about women that, if true, justify inferior status and, whether true or not, buttress the ideology Howells proposed to attack. 3I III Country women like Mrs Durgin and Mrs Woodward, whose labour supports their families, dominate in households where a feeble and ineffectual husband yields to the superior energy and intelligence of his wife.

Emerance, the teacher who marries Parthenope Brook in The Vacation of the Kelwyns, is 'entirely middle class', and according to her aunt, Mrs Kelwyn, 'hasn't the least notion of society as we know it' (VK, 214). But the Kelwyns' tenant rightly observes that 'he's full as well educated as they be. He talks as correct' (VK, 99). Leslie Bellingham, who wishes to marry a western inventor without antecedents in Out of the Question, assures her mother, who opposes the marriage, that 'he used words more refined and considerate than I ever dreamt of ...

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Language and Gender in American Fiction: Howells, James, Wharton and Cather by Elsa Nettels


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