Ambiguous Discourse: Feminist Narratology & British Women Writers

By Kathy Mezei | Go to book overview

discourse, gender, and gossip
Some Reflections on Bakhtin and Emma

christine roulston

In recent years, the growing interest generated by Bakhtin's writing in the field of literary criticism and, in particular, in the area of feminist literary criticism reflects the broad scope of his theoretical appeal. 1 For those interested in a form of critique that incorporates the ideological with the linguistic, the historical with the narratological, Bakhtin's work seems to provide the ideal base from which to proceed. As Nancy Glazener has argued, for feminist critics in particular, "[ Bakhtin's] assertion that literature represents a struggle among socio-ideological languages unsettles the patriarchal myth that there could be a language of truth transcending relations of power and desire" (109). Bakhtin's emphasis on the fact that any linguistic act necessarily belongs to a particular context and is therefore always ideologically encoded opens up a space for inserting gender difference as a crucial ideological category. Bakhtin's work, however, does not itself address the question of gender as a possible site for ideological struggle, coming from a Marxist tradition that privileges class difference as the place of resistance and conflict.

By analyzing a specific passage from Bakhtin in relation to Austen's novel Emma, I will explore in what ways the relationship between gender difference and class difference is problematized by mutual suppression and exclusion rather than operating as an interactive, dialogic encounter. While the categories of class and gender can both be read as ways of constructing the subject from a particular ideological perspective, such a perspective also leads to an essentializing of the category that is not being addressed. Therefore, although Bakhtin represses the potential for reading gender difference as a politicizing discourse of resistance that can affect narrative structures, Austen privileges gendered conflict in her narrative but never addresses the problem of class in relation to gender, even though it is

-40-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Ambiguous Discourse: Feminist Narratology & British Women Writers
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 286

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.