Curious Subjects: Women and the Trials of Realism

Hardcover | January 22, 2013

byHilary M. Schor

not yet rated|write a review
While nineteenth-century literary scholars have long been interested in women's agency in the context of their legal status as objects, Curious Subjects makes the striking and original argument that what we find at the intersection between women subjects (who choose and enter into contracts)and women objects (owned and defined by fathers, husbands, and the law) is curiosity. Women protagonists in the novel are always both curiosities: strange objects worthy of our interest and actors who are themselves actively curious-relentless askers of questions, even (and perhaps especially) whenthey are commanded to be content and passive. What kinds of curiosity are possible and desirable, and what different kinds of knowledge do they yield? What sort of subject asks questions, seeks, chooses? Can a curious woman turn her curiosity on herself? Curious Subjects takes seriously the persuasive force of the novel as a form thatintervenes in our sense of what women want to know and how they can and should choose to act on that knowledge. And it shows an astonishingly wide and subtly various range of answers to these questions in the British novel, which far from simply punishing women for their curiosity, theorized it,shaped it, and reworked it to give us characters as different as Alice in Wonderland and Dorothea Brooke, Clarissa Harlowe and Louisa Gradgrind. Schor's study provides thought-provoking new readings of the most canonical novels of the nineteenth century-Hard Times, Bleak House, Vanity Fair, Daniel Deronda, among others-and pushes well beyond commonplace historicist accounts of British culture in the period as a monolithic ideologicalformation. It will interest scholars of law and literature, narratology, and feminist theory as well as literary history more generally.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$75.55 online
$75.95 list price
Ships within 1-3 weeks
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

While nineteenth-century literary scholars have long been interested in women's agency in the context of their legal status as objects, Curious Subjects makes the striking and original argument that what we find at the intersection between women subjects (who choose and enter into contracts)and women objects (owned and defined by fathe...

Hilary M. Schor is Professor of English, Comparative Literature, Gender Studies and Law at the University of Southern California, where she codirects the USC Center for Law, History and Culture. She is the author of Dickens and the Daughter of the House (Cambridge University Press, 1999) and Scheherezade in the Marketplace: Elizabeth...

other books by Hilary M. Schor

Dickens and the Daughter of the House
Dickens and the Daughter of the House

Paperback|Sep 24 2007

$50.95

Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:January 22, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199928096

ISBN - 13:9780199928095

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of Curious Subjects: Women and the Trials of Realism

Reviews

Extra Content

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Curious Princess, the Novel and the LawPart One: Forming the Novel1. The Making of the Curious Heroine: Enlightenment, Contract and the Novel2. Reading for the Test, Trying the Heroine: The Curiosity Defense3. Alice and the Curious RoomPart Two: Crossing the Threshold4. Was She Guilty or Not?: The Curious Heroine meets the wicked novelist5. Bleak House and The Curious Secrets: "Who Copied That"6. The Bluebeard of the Classroom: Bad Marriages, General Laws, and the Daughter's Curiosity7. George Eliot and the Curious Bride: Ghosts in the DaylightConclusion: The Clockwork Princess, or, Justice for the Dolls