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Becoming a Heroine : Reading About Women in Novels - Rachel Brownstein

Becoming a Heroine

Reading About Women in Novels

Paperback

Published: 19th May 1994
For Ages: 22+ years old
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Now back in print, this feminist classic explores how women define themselves and their lives in terms of novels. Many of the greatest novels in English have women as their protagonists, and women have always been the novel's most faithful readers. Why is it that fiction and women relate so intimately? In this spirited and intelligent book, Rachel Brownstein argues that readers are both affected and reflected by classic English novels, which focus, more often than not, on a woman whose choosing of a husband amounts to the choosing of a self. Three sections of the book--Being Perfect, Getting Married, and Thinking It Over--are devoted to defining the heroine as a fiction that shapes actual lives as well as traditional narratives. For like the central character, the novel reader confronts this powerful idea of the heroine and like her, is conscious of her own distance from it. Brownstein also examines how the stories we read influence our notions of how we should live and seeks to understand how novelists have construed heroism in feminine life. In fresh, wonderfully nuanced readings of works by Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot, Henry James, and Virginia Woolf, she considers woman-centered novels as rewritings of romance, and analyzes the thematic links and echoes that connect these works not only to each other but to women's lives. This splendidly provocative book shows how good novels, intelligent heroines, and careful readers are skeptical of the romantic ideal of a perfected, integral self.

A splendid book, a rare combination of critical brilliance and personal warmth. Brownstein speaks for a generation, perhaps a tradition, of passionate women readers; she stands for literary values that need to be defended against the chilling abstractions of contemporary theory, and that remind us why we read and how we shape our lives by our books. "A splendid book, a rare combination of critical brilliance and personal warmth. Brownstein speaks for a generation, perhaps a tradition, of passionate women readers; she stands for literary values that need to be defended against the chilling abstractions of contemporary theory, and that remind us why we read and how we shape our lives by our books." -- "Elaine Showalter"

Introduction
Being Perfectp. 3
My Life in Fictionp. 32
An Exemplar to Her Sex
Getting Married: Jane Austenp. 79
Thinking It Over
Life as Literature, Revision as Romancep. 137
Villettep. 154
The Egoistp. 182
Daniel Derondap. 203
The Portrait of a Ladyp. 239
Mrs. Dallowayp. 271
Afterwordp. 292
Postscriptp. 297
Notesp. 302
Indexp. 330
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780231100007
ISBN-10: 0231100000
Series: Gender & Culture (Paperback)
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 22+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 337
Published: 19th May 1994
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.61 x 15.16  x 2.34
Weight (kg): 0.47