'Climbing Untrodden Paths and Unfrequented Passes'. De-Generation in 'The Buddhist Priest's Wife' by Schreiner, 'A Cross Line' by Egerton and 'The Undefinable' by Grand.

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Abstract

This essay aims to show how different forms of de-generation in the social construction of fin de siècle female identity prove to be intentional instruments to defy conventional 19th century femininity and generate and circulate new female discoursivities in order to integrate forms of transgression into socially accepted behaviours. As critics have long argued the New Woman -the modern woman emerging from the disruption of the Angel in the House stereotype- has to be treated as a discursive process and a multilayered subject. The analysis of Schreiner’s “The Buddhist Priest’s Wife” (1891), Egerton’s “A Cross Line” (1893), and Grand’s “The Undefinable: A Fantasia” (1894), will highlight the fin de siècle woman as a modernist multiple identity in transition rather than a monolithic discoursive product aiming at the alignment between «The New Woman in Fact and the New Woman in Fiction» , a negotiation between fictional disruptive eccentric women and real sexualized feminists fighting for emancipation and gender equality. In this context, not only is the act itself of writing considered a mis-behaviour, implying the appropriation of a traditionally masculine domain, but also the form the act of writing assumes, that of the short story, is highlighted as the genre epitomizing the empowerment of turn-of-the-century women.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteDonne De-Generate. La costruzione sociale trans-genre dell'identità femminile tra Settecento e Ottocento
Pagine153-172
Numero di pagine20
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2013

Serie di pubblicazioni

NomeOTTOCENTO E DINTORNI

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