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Lecture 5

Lecture 5 - 130923.doc

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Deidre Lynch

Lecture 5 – 130923 - “Accomplishment” by Jane Taylor – aligned to ch.8 of P&P on accomplishment of women o Jane Taylor’s most famous poem is “Twinkle, twinkle, little star” - Essay topics on Blackboard! Finishing up Evelina: - There’s a debate through the 17 and 18 century (a century before Burney’s novel) about the ethics of laughter o Is it wrong to laugh at people? o Politeness is a very fragile safety net – politeness that ensures society  Lord Orville is the most polite o Politeness is the form of interaction that treats everyone as if they were equals  It may veil any qualities and it can attack politeness in that there is something hypocritical about it  Potential for aggression and domination of the powerless over the powerful o Laughter often gets attached to 2 things:  Ungovernable fits of laughter – threat of laughter (body over the mind) • Artifice of society  Laughter is aggressive o Laughter is sudden glory, but glory over someone else  We laugh when we suddenly feel superiority  Laughter was cruel because it is an expression of feeling superior to someone else o As more and more people get with the program of politeness, it starts to feel more vulgar o We notice that Evelina’s first public appearance is through her laughter (Mr. Lovel makes her laugh) o Volume 3, Letter 21, pg. 444: Mr. Lovel vs. monkey dressed  Why did Burney add this last episode of comedy in the end? • Literalizes the satire of cruelty • Revenge  Novels discussion of breeding and social identity at birth • Identity isn’t about birth but about clothes and making the man by comparing Mr. Lovel and the monkey  It seems that Burney is parodying her own family reunions - Evelina was a nobody and then she doubly becomes somebody and then just somebody o No name, her father’s name and Lord Orville’s name, and then just Lord Orville’s name o A married woman’s identity in law is said to be “coverture” (used to identify the ways in which a wife’s identity is covered over by the husband; has no autonomous identity) o She becomes independent by getting her name and then she loses is by marrying Lord Orville  Traditional romance restoration – bildungsroman  Burney seems to show the shakiness in the woman’s role in this society - It seems to want to say that birth doesn’t count but what counts is good conduct and manners o But then it seems to say is that birth does count and it is through restoration and through getting back her name - One of the sense of romance in the map of literary genres at the moment is that romance plots are plots of restoration o Birth vs. character in Shakespearean romance - Romance is fiction that is too allied and escapism, images that would leave you astray - Volume 3, letter 6, pg. 342: Mr. Villars wants Evelina to control her feelings and not to let her imagination get carried away; to stay in the real world o He’s basically pointing out to her that it is very improbable that Lord Orville is going to be serious about you o Dr. Gregory says that women shouldn’t fall in love first but
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