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Lecture 3

Lecture 3 - 130916.doc

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Deidre Lynch

Lecture 3 – 130916 - Gregory’s “A father’s legacy to his daughter”: about an elderly father leaving his motherless daughters to fend for themselves, and thus leaving them a conduct book - It came before Evelina - Dr. Gregory is most like Rev. Mr. Villars in Evelina o Is Mr. Villars a good person for Evelina? – he fails her grandfather and her mother, can he really care for Evelina? o Epistelary novel: novel written in letter format  Why is Evelina written in this form?  We have no narrative and only reports on what is happening (so can’t really know the characters’ true selves)  For women writers, it’s a form where they can be sly and get away with writing things they couldn’t get away with in a narrative form novel - Satire is not particularly a feminine genre - Dr. Gregory keeps asking his daughters to keep worrying about how people see them o It’s more important to worry on how they are seen than how they really are o Female writers may not really be that accepting of these social issues that force them to be a certain way - A lot of 18 century novels are about orphans – people who have to invent their identities because they don’t have their own family names o Evelina thinks that she’s not much of an orphan thought when Mme. Duval (Evelina’s grandmother) comes into the novel - The novel allows a novelist to incorporate a satiric dimension into her work – only my novelists’ point of view - Evelina does view her world in a sort of satiric eye - Evelina allows Burney to show us how London, the fashionable world or the coolest world, to be seen weirdly through the eyes of someone who sees it for the first time o It is strange to see men selling women’s clothes o It is strange that men can stroll around and look at women as if they were on display - Burnethin some ways is using some very traditional tropes/conventions of 18 century European satire o It often has the journey of someone from outside of Europe to London or Paris, etc. o Denaturalizes what people in the society, that are the target, usually see as natural o This convention of the naïve visitor allows the novelist to get away with a lot - A novel of manners is not just a novel for people to being polite o Manners in the 18 century meant customs – synonym for culture and cultural conventions o Through the eyes of this naïve visitor, the novelist makes them like an anthropologist and ethnographer of their own cultural conventions, and thus Burney is like an anthropologist/ethnographer of her own culture (imperialist era)  These authors of novels of manners would write what an objective observation o Burney’s brother was one of Cpt. Cook’s officers; constant travel and dislocation may have unsettled his sense of what was normal in society - Burney’s letter to her sister, Susanna (1777 – while she’s writing Evelina, in secret from her father but Susanna knows – ashamed of novel-writing): o “We pass our Time here very serenely, and, distant as you may think us from the Great World, I some times, find myself in the midst of it, --though nobody suspects the brilliancy of the Company I occasionally keep. We Walk, Talk, Write, Read, Eat, Thrum, and sleep. These are our recreations, which, for your better conception, I will some what enlarge upon.” - Letter to Susanna Burney, 15 March 1777: o She’s satirizing o There’s a slight sense of unease and fear  “with the aid of a knife and fork” – violence - In Evelina’s eyes, heterosexual sociability looks weird (pg. 30, letter 10): o Burney is pointing out that it is really weird that men get the privilege to asking to dance  In Northanger Abbey, they relate dancing to marriage – men asking to dance—to marry  The question is, why can’t the woman ask?  If you say no to one, you have to continuously say no to every other man because you cannot show that you have preferences because it shows that you have desires (which is unsuitable for women) o A nameless heroine that cannot sign her own name on a letter has to use the name of Lord Orville to defend herself (only the male title and guardianship can be used to defend herself) o She finds it pretty bizarre in her first setting out - What puts a woman in the pale of politeness does not necessarily put the man in that same pale - There are also things that Evelina is not meant to see (episode when they go to see a play; pg. 87, letter 20): o “out of countenance” – blushing o Dr. Gregory warns explicitly against women going to plays o The play is full with double meanings (“china” – Restoration…) o If a woman goes to a play, what Dr. Gregory implies that her reacti
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