Boundaries

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Masaryk University
Faculty of Arts

Department of English
and American Studies

English Language and Literature

Eva Koubová

Boundaries of Femininity: The Eighteenth-Century Novel and its Heroines Bachelor’s Diploma Thesis

Supervisor: Bonita Rhoads Ph.D.

2012

I declare that I have worked on this thesis independently,
using only the primary and secondary sources listed in the bibliography.

……………………………………………..
Author’s sig

Acknowledgement
This thesis has greatly benefited from the support of professor Bonita Rhoads Ph.D. I would like to thank her for her kindness and for being always ready to help with her advice and encouragement.

Table of Contents
1. Introduction……………………………………………………………………1 2. Women and Philosophy of Moral Sentiment…………………………………..3 2.1. Introduction…………………………………………………………………..3 2.2. From Locke to Rational Feeling………………………………………………3 3.3. Conclusion……………………………………………………………………..8 3. Women as Readers………………………………………………………………8 3.1. Introduction……………………………………………………………………8 3.2. Rates of Women’s Literacy and the Importance of Reading………………….9 3.3. Proper Modes of Reading..……………………………………………..….....11 3.4. Transgressive Reading……………………………………………………......12 3.5. Conclusion………………………………………………………………….....13 4. Women as Writers………………………………………………………………13 4.1. Introduction…………………………………………………………………...13 4.2. Women Authors……………………………………………………………….14 4.3. Writing as a Protection against Becoming an Amazon………………………..15 4.4. Conclusion……………………………………………………………………..17 5. The Sentimental Novel…………………………………………………………..18 5.1. Introduction…………………………………………………………………....18 5.2. The Novel versus Romance……………………………………………………18 5.3.Definition of the Novel of Sentiment……………………………………….....21 5.4. Women Writing Sentimental Fiction…………………………………………..21 5.5. Conclusion……………………………………………………………………...22 6. Samuel Richardson´s and Fanny Burney´s Suffering Heroines: “Change Slander to Remorse, that is Some Good” (Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing)…………......23 6.1. Introduction……………………………………………………………………….23 6.2. Pamela and Clarissa…………………………………………………………….…24 6.3. Evelina, Camilla and Cecilia………………………………………………………27 6.4. Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………33 7. Satirized Women Readers: Exchanging Conduct Manuals for Novels and Romances…………………………………………………….33 7.1. Introduction………………………………………………………………………..33 7.2. The Female Quixote: The Last True Romantic Heroine…………………………..34 7.3. Northanger Abbey: Overcoming the Horrors of Novel…………………………...36 7.4. Conclusion………………………………………………………………………....38 8. Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………...40 Bibliography

English Resumé
Czech Resumé
1. Introduction
The eighteenth century witnessed an upsurge of literature written by and targeted at women. The aim of this thesis is to explore the specific social conditions under which this change came to being. At the heart of my argument I set a proposition, that the popular thought of the eighteenth century, which promoted the moral sentiment undermined and implicitly contradicted the gender order the eighteenth-century society was based upon. The concept of Moral Sentiment which blurred the distinction between rationality and emotionality and promoted the union of these two abilities as central to moral discernment effectively worked against the clear cut division of masculine and feminine sphere and role. This conflict hidden in the essential social constructs around which the social order revolved resulted in constant search for validation and reconciliation of both the idealistic moral philosophy and the pragmatic organization of social life. Sensibility, the crucial human quality within the philosophy of Moral Sentiment, then acquired an ambiguous status which at once enabled its glorification and condemnation: it was source of morality and human virtue, but also of weakness. In...
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