Gender and the Gothic in the Fiction of Edith Wharton (Hardback)
  • Gender and the Gothic in the Fiction of Edith Wharton (Hardback)
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Gender and the Gothic in the Fiction of Edith Wharton (Hardback)

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£43.50
Hardback 240 Pages / Published: 30/06/1995
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Edith Wharton's contradictory views of women and men- her attitudes toward the feminine and the masculine--reflect a complicated interweaving of family and social environment, historical time, and individual psychology. Studies of Wharton have exhibited the same kind of contradiction, with some seeing her as disparaging men and the masculine and others depicting her as disparaging women and the feminine. The use of Gothic elements in her fiction provided Wharton--often considered the consummate realist--with a way to dramatize the conflict between feminine and masculine selves as she experienced them and to evolve and alternative to the dualism.

Using feminist archetypal theory and theory of the female Gothic, Fedorko shows how Wharton, in sixteen short stories and six major novels written during four distinct periods of her life, adopts and adapts Gothic elements as a way to explore the nature of feminine and masculine ways of knowing and being and to dramatize the tension between them. A distinction in her use of the form is that she has women and men engage in a process of individuation during which they confront the abyss, the threatening and disorienting feminine/maternal. Wharton deconstructs traditional Gothic villains and victims by encouraging the reader to identity with those characters who are willing to assimilate this confrontation with the feminine/maternal into their sense of themselves as women and men. In the novels with Gothic texts Wharton draws multiply parallels between male and female protagonists, indicating the commonalities between women and men and the potential for a female self. Eventually, in her last completed novel and her last short story, Wharton imagines human beings who are comfortable with both gender selves.

Publisher: The University of Alabama Press
ISBN: 9780817307882
Number of pages: 240
Weight: 562 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 22 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Fedorko's analysis of gender in the Gothic stories is superb, but the most intriguing aspect of her work is her recovery of the Gothic subtext of the novels and nonfiction. . . . Her provocative work both spells out some strands in the complex relation between Wharton's Gothic and Wharton's realism and invites further consideration of this relation."
--American Literature
"Innovative but persuasive. This is a very impressive book, polished, seasoned through careful consideration of new criticism on Wharton's work (the bibliography is excellent), and very much a new way of reading this oeuvre. Not only is Fedorko's approach new, but her inclusion of a number of short stories with the key novels makes the study unusually comprehensive."
--Linda Wagner-Martin, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

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