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Compare and Assess at least two of the following approaches in feminist theory, with illustration from two of the Victorian texts you have studied: Anglo-American Feminism; French Feminism

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Name: Student Number: Unit Number: 84523162 Unit Leader: Unit Title: Victorian Literature: Social Contexts and Theoretic Perspectives. Assignment Title: 'Compare and Assess at least two of the following approaches in feminist theory, with illustration from two of the Victorian texts you have studied: Anglo-American feminism; French Feminism; Socialist or Marxist Feminism; feminist approaches influenced by Foucault.' 'I declare that this is my own work and that I have followed the code of academic good conduct and have sought, where necessary, advice and guidance in the proper presentation of my work.' Signature: Date: 'Compare and Assess at least two of the following approaches in feminist theory, with illustration from two of the Victorian texts you have studied: Anglo-American Feminism; French Feminism; Socialist or Marxist Feminism; Feminist Approaches influenced by Foucault.' Feminist theory like psychoanalytic theory is relatively modern in its creation. The immergence of feminist literary theories can be linked to the out break of female political uprising in the early nineteenth century. The French Revolution marked the beginning of a fight for the obtaining of women's rights to power and equality in society. Elaine Showalter comments that the ideological socially acceptable view of Victorian women as a whole can be seen as '... prescribed a woman who would be a Perfect Lady, an Angel in the House, contently submissive to men, but strong in inner purity and religiosity, queen in her own realm of the Home.' (Victorian Women's Poets, Page 13) ...read more.


suggests that he is in the "feminine" position with respect to Nelly's controlling gaze.' (Gender, Narration and Gaze in Wuthering Heights, Page 1034). Emily Bronte portrays Hareton as a model man who does not fear women but does not repress them either, this is marked through his not hiding away from Cathy's advances; "Helene Cixous has written that the Medusa who has terrorized the male subject, looked at "straight on," is actually "beautiful...and ... Laughing" Bronte has uncannily anticipated Cixous's analysis of the masculine fear of the woman's gaze in suggesting that Hareton, alone among the male characters in the novel, is able to laugh back." (Gender, Narration and Gaze in Wuthering Heights, Page 1037). The splitting and fragmentation of Catherine's feminine desire through the lack of a stable identity, she is Catherine Earnshaw, Catherine Heathcliff and Catherine Linton at the same time. The theme of heaven and hell is prevalent most through Heath cliff's representation as a satanic wild figure that should be feared. Bronte links Heathcliff to the wildness of nature through his name; he becomes one with the heath surrounding the heights. Catherine expresses her own desire to be associated with Heathcliff through "If I were in Heaven, Nelly, I should be extremely miserable.' 'Because you are not fit to go there,' I answered. 'All sinners would be miserable in heaven.'... 'I was only going to say that heaven did not seem to be my home; and it broke my heart with weeping to come back to earth; and the angels were so angry that they ...read more.


('A music of thine own':Womens Poetry, Victorian Womens Poets, Page 54). Through both of the texts analyzed it is important to notice that as Showalter states that it is in fact, "female imagination' cannot be treated by literary historians as a romantic or Freudian abstraction. It is the product of a delicate network of influences operating in a time, and it must be analyzed as it expresses itself, in language and in a fixed arrangement of words on a page, a form that itself is subject to a network of influences and conventions, including the operations of the marketplace.' (Victorian Women's Poets, Page 12) Both Emily Bronte and Christina Rossetti were classed as typically romantic Victorian women's writers. However this view is highly problematic as both women try to break the curtailments of Victorian archaic patriarchy in their work, constantly testing and pushing the boundaries of female authorship; 'Romance fiction deals above all with the doubts and delights of heterosexuality, an institution which feminism has seen as problematic from the start. In thinking about this 'problem' I myself have found the psychoanalytic framework most useful since it suggests that the acquisition of gendered subjectivity is a process, a movement towards the social 'self' , fraught with conflicts and never fully achieved. Moreover, psychoanalysis takes the question of pleasure seriously, both in its relation to gender and in its understanding of fictions as fantasies, as the explorations and productions of desires which may be excess of the socially possible or acceptable. It gives us ways into the discussion of popular culture which can avoid the traps of moralism or dictatorship.' (Romance Fiction, Female sexuality and class. ...read more.

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