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Lecture 4

Lecture 4 - 130918.doc

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Deidre Lynch

Lecture 4 – 130918 - Epistolary fictions – novels-in-letters o Diaries written for someone else o Evelina’s correspondent is Mr. Villars at first, later, she writer for Maria  What is the inclusion of this second correspondent change about this character? • Autonomy and independence from her guardian – she doesn’t have to solely report to her guardian • Now, Evelina reveals a different side of herself which she won’t tell Mr. Villars but tells Maria o Pg. 192: she tells Mr. Villars she doesn’t like London but she tells Maria that it is like a dream being in London  She doesn’t want to be found out by Mr. Villars that she has changed o Role of a confidante is important in an epistolary novel – Evelina has two (Mr. Villars and Maria)  She’s no longer the single-minded person that she used to be and is now conflicted  Purity vs. mental unity – need for a second confidante • Signs of internal conflict with this duplication of opinions o Pg. 278: suddenly Evelina has secrets (she’s becoming the sort of person who might have secrets)  There’s a way in which Evelina is going through this process of self-maturation – growing up o She also starts to write to people to whom as an unmarried woman she ought not have written and ought not to write (like Mr. Orville)  Possible misconstruction of her character – she ought to have been more wary about her image/reputation (which can be ruined easily)  Mr. Orville tells her off, saying she started this (as if she asked him to dance – which is not suitable for a young lady) o Evelina’s problem with image management – how she’s seen in the world is doesn’t align with how she sees herself o Once you get a letter you’re going to have to write back a letter and then respond to that letter, etc…  The codes of female behavior are so restrictive that one false step leads to a sexual fall  Evelina has set herself for this sexual trajectory o Pg. 375: Letter from Ms. Caroline Belmont (Evelina’s mother) – disrupts the sequence of letters as a dead woman suddenly speaks  In epistolary fiction, the dead can speak and they have voices  Has an incredibly forceful effect (for a woman who have power) • We can assume she didn’t get the last word when she was with her husband; but in this letter, we can tell she has the last word o Because writing is disembodied (which is why Caroline can have a voice; s
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