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About this product
- DescriptionHow did realist velists in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries hint at sex while maintaining a safe distance from porgraphy? Metaphors helped: waves, oceans, blooms, and illuminations were all deployed in respectable realist vels to allude to the sexual act, allowing writers to portray companionate marriage while avoiding graphic description. But in Exquisite Masochism, Claire Jarvis argues that some Victorian velists went even further, pushing formal boundaries by slyly developing scenes of displaced erotic desire to suggest impropriety, perversion, and danger. Through close readings of canical works by Emily Bronte, Anthony Trollope, Thomas Hardy, and a modernist outlier, D. H. Lawrence, Jarvis reveals how writers' varied use of specific character types-the dominant woman and the submissive man-in conjunction with decadent, descriptive scenes of sexual refusal creates a strong counter-narrative hinting at relationships beyond patriarchal and companionate marriage structures. By focusing on the exquisitely masochistic pleasure brought about by freezing, or suspending, the sexual charge, and by depicting quasi-contractual states on the periphery of marriage, including engagement, adultery, and widowhood, velists disrupted the marriage plot's insistence that erotic drives remain unfulfilled and that sexual connection could be satisfied only by genital act. Complicating our understanding of Victorian marriage ideology's more well-trodden focus on a productive, nation-building ideal, Exquisite Masochism offers fascinating insight into our own culture's debates around illicit sexuality, marriage, reproduction, and feminism.
- Author BiographyClaire Jarvis is an assistant professor of English at Stanford University.
- Author(s)Claire Jarvis
- PublisherJohns Hopkins University Press
- Date of Publication10/06/2016
- SubjectLiterary Criticism
- Place of PublicationBaltimore, MD
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintJohns Hopkins University Press
- Content Note1 black & white halftones
- Weight454 g
- Width152 mm
- Height229 mm
- Spine20 mm
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