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Acts of Naming : The Family Plot in Fiction - Michael Ragussis

Acts of Naming

The Family Plot in Fiction

Hardcover

Published: 8th January 1987
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Michael Ragussis re-reads the novelistic tradition by arguing the acts of naming--bestowing, revealing, or earning a name; taking away, hiding, or prohibiting a name; slandering, or protecting and serving it--lie at the center of fictional plots from the 18th century to the present. Against the background of philosophic approaches to naming, Acts of Naming reveals the ways in which systems of naming are used to appropriate characters in novels as diverse as Clarissa, Fanny Hill, Oliver Twist, Pierre, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Remembrance of Things Past, and Lolita, and identifies unnaming and renaming as the locus of power in the family's plot to control the child, and more particularly, to rape the daughter. His analysis also treats additional works by Cooper, Bront‹¨«, Hawthorne, Eliot, Twain, Conrad, and Faulkner, extending the concept of the naming plot to reimagine the traditions of the novel, comparing American and British plots, female and male plots, inheritance and seduction plots, and so on. Acts of Naming ends with a theoretical exploration of the "magical" power of naming in different eras and in different, even competing, forms of discourse.

"An engrossing and powerful book of real importance."--James R. Kincaid, University of Colorado at Boulder "Continuously lively, even eloquent at times, and it offers rigorous and original readings of familiar nineteenth-century novels."--Victorian Studies "An engrossing and powerful book of real importance."--James R. Kincaid, University of Colorado at Boulder "Continuously lively, even eloquent at times, and it offers rigorous and original readings of familiar nineteenth-century novels."--Victorian Studies

Introduction: In the Name of the Childp. 3
The Naming Plots of Fiction
Clarissa, or the Name Lostp. 19
Oliver Twist, or the Name Foundp. 35
Pierre, or the American Myth of the Name Transcendedp. 48
Fiction and Family Discourse
The Scarlet Letterp. 65
"The guilty name"p. 66
On the border in fictionp. 76
Bleak Housep. 87
"Kindred mystery"p. 88
"No one" and "Every one" in fictionp. 97
The Mill on the Flossp. 110
The education of father and sonp. 111
"Living twice over" in fictionp. 122
Tess of the d'Urbervillesp. 135
"In the name of the Father"p. 138
"In the name of our love"p. 146
Coda: Confession in fictionp. 154
Fiction and the Traditions of Naming
Lolitap. 165
The science of classificationp. 168
Etymologyp. 177
Allegory, meta-allegory, and parodyp. 182
The "science of pleasure" in Fanny Hillp. 190
Proust and the erotics of namingp. 198
Epiloguep. 215
Naming as ordinary magicp. 215
The novel as naming plotp. 229
Notesp. 245
Indexp. 263
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195040708
ISBN-10: 0195040708
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 278
Published: 8th January 1987
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.6 x 14.3  x 2.6
Weight (kg): 0.5