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Title:Gender and Creativity: Female Artist Subplots From Hawthorne to Fowles
Author(s):Eldred, Janet M.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Garrett, Peter K.
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, Comparative
Literature, American
Literature, English
Abstract:Gender and Creativity is a dialogic study of five novels. The introduction briefly summarizes the characteristics of the artist plot. Chapter One examines the disruptive textual interplay between female artist subplots and the centripetal finalizing force of a dominant romance plot. In the novels examined, plot, setting, and character double to tell two "warring" stories. Each character is both a minor character in a romance plot and the protagonist questing for independence in the artist plot. The settings are double: both traditional societies and the forbidden worlds of bohemia are represented. The plots contain contradictory logics--the logic of the romance which works to affirm social order and of the Kunstlerroman trying to subvert it. Even the discourse is double-edged or split, at once talking about both sexuality and creativity, consisting of metaphors which pit female against male creativity. Chapter Two focuses on Hawthorne's Ivory Tower artist, Hilda (The Marble Faun), her relationship with the old Italian masters, and her marriage to Kenyon. Chapter Three studies Faulkner's "still life" artist Charlotte Rittenmeyer (The Wild Palms), her status as social renegade and, finally, the politics of her death. In Chapter Four, Gudrun Brangwen (Women in Love) and her dealings with both the continental bohemias and industrial societies are examined. John Fowles's two artist heroines--Sarah Woodruff (The French Lieutenant's Woman) and Diane (The Ebony Tower)--are the subjects of Chapter Five. The conclusion, "Restoring Interpretive Center," discusses the different interpretations produced by reading for plot and for subplot. Although each of these novels has been read as a text which challenges the conservative ideology of the marriage plot, a critique from the point of view of the artist subplot illuminates the opposite perspective. Though the authors early on challenge, they ultimately reject bohemian life and affirm social values and tradition. Finally, I argue that reading for subplots forces us to read from multiple perspectives, to see what is imagined but not acted on in texts, and to identify the ideological forces that block these imaginings. Reading for subplots allows us to see what has been relegated to the margins of the text and, more importantly, why.
Issue Date:1988
Description:223 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1988.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8823121
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1988

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