Schools of Sympathy: Gender and Identification Through the Novel

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McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, 1997 - Literary Criticism - 179 pages
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Roberts argues that Clarissa's, Hester's, Isabel's, and Tess's "heroism" or "greatness" is measured not by her actions but by the extent to which others are moved by her. Therefore, the character cannot be studied without studying the response she generates, which, in these novels, is sympathy. Roberts asserts that each of the novels can be understood as a school of sympathy, through which we learn to behave and feel as gendered subjects, and that our response to the heroine is as carefully crafted as the character herself. Schools of Sympathy addresses issues of masochism, female victimization, the power of passive seduction, and the possibilities of heroism. As a counterpoint to these eighteenth- and nineteenth-century male perspectives, Roberts examines works by Margaret Atwood and Angela Carter that explicitly address these issues.
 

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Contents

Novel as Trial
27
The Scarlet Letter and The Spectacle of
46
Gender and Identity in
70
The Reader and Tess of
89
The Work of Margaret Atwood
107
Postscript 142
142
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About the author (1997)

Roberts, a journalist for many years, has worked for newspapers in New Jersey, Florida, and North Carolina. She lives with her son, David, and her husband, Jim Brown.

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