Jane Austen’s Novels and the Contemporary Social and Literary Conventions.

12977 Words Aug 16th, 2008 52 Pages
Content Page:
Content Page: 2
Introduction 3 3 1.Eighteenth-Century Conduct Literature 4
1.1. The Introduction to Conduct Manuals 4
1.2. Patriarchy in Conduct Literature 4
1.3. The Private Sphere as Woman’s Domain. 5
1.4. Characteristics of ideal female features 6
1.5. Conduct Manuals and the Novels 9
2. Romantic Novels. 11
2.1. Introduction to the Novel. 11
2.2. The Novel of Manners, Sentiment and Emulation. 12
2.3 The Gothic Romance. 13
3. Jane Austen and Her Novels in relation to the Contemporary Literature. 15
3.1. Austen’s Criticism about the Contemporary Fiction. 15
3.2. Jane Austen as a Conservative Writer and as a Social Critic. 16
3.3. Austen’s writing in her own perception. 17
4. Pride and Prejudice. 20
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As support, Dobosiewicz quotes from Michelle Rosaldo’s Women, Culture and Society: A Theoretical Overview (1974), where the author sees the basis for women’s subordination in “their confinement to the private sphere.”

1.3. The Private Sphere as Woman’s Domain. Having explained the notion of ‘patriarchy’, the sphere that women were assigned to, that is the ‘private sphere’ will be discussed. Conduct literature, having been a product of the writers who themselves lived in the eighteenth century, supported woman’s confinement to the private sphere, as the only suitable niche for the weaker sex. Although in the 18th century women were no longer occupied with such tasks as spinning, weaving or making candles or bread (40), which made women’s lives easier and provided them with larger amount of free time, male authors of conduct literature did not cease to propagate a role model of a “female confinement in the domestic domain”(Dobosiewicz 40).
Moreover, according to them, it became even more desirable in women to behave in this way because it shaped their character and personality well. The “Female Sphere”, as they call it, concerned also certain features of character, which every woman ideally should aspire to possess. Among them there are “meekness, modesty and virtuous love”(Dobosiewicz 43). Gisbourne, to confirm woman’s place in

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