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Title: Anna Karenina, Daniel Deronda and Women in Love : comparison as methodology
Author: Brown, C.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2008
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Abstract:
This thesis compares Anna Karenina severally with Daniel Deronda and Women in Love, and reflects on comparison as a critical methodology. The contexts of comparison are the similarities of these novels and of their authors, and Lawrence’s responses to Tolstoi. Each of the two pairs of novel is compared on a subject of maximal relevance to that pair. Daniel Deronda and Anna Karenina are compared as tragic-comedies, of which the component genres are separated by an ethical lacuna. This lacuna is interpreted in terms of the texts’ scapegoating of their heroines. Gwendolen is the victim of the ontological and generic disjunction of her novel’s domains. Anna is attributed greater freedom of action, but her decline has weaker narrative motivation. Daniel’s comedy, unlike Levin’s, attempts to ethically contextualise the heroine’s equivocal tragedy, and in its failure wholly to do so contributes towards her scapegoating. In the second comparison, Michael Bell’s thesis concerning the ‘Dostoevskean’ rather than ‘Tolstoyan’ nature of Women in Love is tested against the ontological and normative nature of the descriptions and enactments of consciousness and unconsciousness in it and Anna Karenina. Bell’s thesis is confirmed, although it is qualified by certain similarities in the two novels’ distrust of the intellect, and conscious affirmation of states of lowered consciousness. Daniel Deronda and Women in Love are briefly considered in relation to consciousness and tragi-comedy respectively: Daniel Deronda has weaker impulses towards both high consciousness and unconsciousness than both other novels. Gerald suffers both a sex tragedy with Gudrun, and is also scapegoated for refusing intimacy with Birkin. Comparative methodology is found to discourage thick description and to encourage exaggeration, but also potentially to undermine invalid essentialism, extend awareness of similarities, and reveal structures underlying much literary critical and practical, thought.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.596955  DOI: Not available
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