The Novel's Seductions: Staël's Corinne in Critical Inquiry

The Novel's Seductions: Staël's Corinne in Critical Inquiry

The Novel's Seductions: Staël's Corinne in Critical Inquiry

The Novel's Seductions: Staël's Corinne in Critical Inquiry

Synopsis

This collection documents an extraordinary revival of interest in the novel and responds to the call made by American academia for a much-needed research tool providing English readers with the analysis of the novel's problematics and with an updated bibliography. The volume also explores the transactional qualities of Stael's writing from various methodological and thematic perspectives.

Excerpt

Karyna Szmurlo

Over the last two decades American academia has shown unprecedented interest in Staël's novel. No longer dismissed as a weak exemplar of the genre, Corinne is now acknowledged as the productive reply of a woman writer to the feminine condition. Madelyn Gutwirth's pioneering work, Madame de Staël, Novelist: the Emergence of the Artist as Woman (1978), followed by Avriel Goldberger's translation of Corinne, or Italy (1987), has inspired feminist readers. After a series of major critical initiatives carried on by scholars such as Joan DeJean, Vivian Folkenflik, Charlotte Hogsett, Doris Kadish, Nancy K. Miller, Carla Peterson, Naomi Schor, Marie-Claire Vallois, and Margaret Waller, to name just a few, Corinne has become a crucial reference for women's studies, placed on undergraduate/ graduate reading lists.

In response to a growing demand for a more comprehensive exploration tool of Staël's seminal work, the present collection features essays that scrutinize its problematics while providing students and teachers with an updated bibliography. a specific agenda governs the body of contributions prepared by internationally known Staëlians as well as a new generation of critics. Each of the three sections of the volume addresses the communicative, transactional qualities of Corinne in an attempt to answer the following sequence of questions: How does the aesthetic substance of the novel act upon readers to achieve the force of a manifesto for social change? How does the novel modify and extend the boundaries of the genre for political goals? What kind of textual/ideological transmutations does the novel bring forth into texts by other literary women? Ultimately, the volume demonstrates through its organization the performative power of Staël's fiction capable of influencing today's women who, almost two centuries after the novel's publication, still experience their own "days of Corinne. . . ."

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