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|Antigone's daughters : Gender, family and expression in the modern novel|
|Author||Wilkinson, Marta Laura|
|Summary||This dissertation examines the role of female relationships and social custom as they are portrayed in literary representation. I argue that the female body is the site of convergence between the public and private spheres. In order to illustrate how this argument is relevant and current in the modern novel, I have drawn my primary sources from three different national literatures: French, Russian and Latin American. I have called upon feminist and psychoanalytic theory to explain and analyze my readings of the works and read each novel in consideration of its contemporary context.|
I have framed the dissertation by establishing Sophocles's Antigone as a paradigm that introduces all of the issues that are still relevant to my readings of the modern novel. Through Antigone's crime and claim, matters of gender socialization, family relationships, family history, trauma, the uncanny, and restricted expression are brought to the attention of the reader. I isolate and explain each of these elements as they are presented by Sophocles and as they are interpreted by modern theoretical works of Nancy Chodorow, Sigmund Freud, Christian Olivier, Judith Butler, Luce Irigaray, Josette Feral,and Cathy Caruth.
Each of the chapters that follow provides an analysis of different aspects of the social, emotional and physical conflicts that confront the female character: Indiana (1832) by George Sand, A Double Life (1848) by Karolina Pavlova; What Is to Be Done? (1862) by Nikolai Chernyshevsky; L'Assommoir (1877) and Nana (1880) by Emile Zola; La amortajada [The Shrouded Woman] (1948) by Maria Luisa Bombal, and The House of the Spirits (1982) by Isabel Allende. I have isolated different aspects of the Antigone paradigm in each of the chapters that work together in a unified presentation of the feminine struggle for expression that carries into modern literature. Each work helps to illustrate a different aspect of my argument on the effects of gender socialization and the function of the female body as a commodity in society.
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