Public and Private: Gender, Class, and the British Novel (1764-1878)

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University of Minnesota Press, 1997 - 243 páginas
Considers the connections between gender and power in the novels of the period.

This groundbreaking work examines the emergent and fluctuating relationship between the public and private social spheres of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. By assessing novels such as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Jane Austen's Emma through the lens of the theories of Jurgen Habermas and Michel Foucault, Patricia McKee presents a highly original contribution to literary studies.

McKee explores the themes of production and consumption as they relate to gender and class throughout the works of many of the most influential novels of the age including Tobias Smollett's Humphry Clinker, Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto, Emma, Frankenstein, Anthony Trollope's Barchester Towers, Charles Dickens's Little Dorrit and The Old Curiosity Shop, Mrs. Henry Wood's East Lynne, and Thomas Hardy's The Return of the Native.

McKee analyzes portrayals of a society in which abstract idealism belonged to knowledgeable, productive men and the realm of ignorance was left to emotional, consuming women and the uneducated. Throughout, McKee highlights the unexpected configurations of the emergence of the public and private spheres and the effect of knowledge distribution across class and gender lines.

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Patricia McKee, Professor of English at Dartmouth College, is the author of Public and Private: Gender, Class, and the British Novel, 1764???1878 and Heroic Commitment in Richardson, Eliot, and James.

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