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Title: Walter Scott and feminine discourse
Author: Irvine, Robert P.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1996
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This thesis examines the relation between Scott's fiction and the late eighteenth-century feminine domestic novel as it appears at the interlinked levels of discourse and plot in the Scottish Waverley novels themselves. Scott's fiction brought a new sort of realism to the novel in its enlightenment understanding of society and history as objects of knowledge, but the plots of the novels are not used to signify social or historical reality. Because social history has no ending, narrative closure is provided instead by extra-historical agents in the text. In Part One I examine how this autonomous agency is derived from the autonomy of young women characters in Waverley, Guy Mannering and The Black Dwarf, an autonomy they owe to their status as signifiers of the domestic fiction which dominated the novel in the decades before 1814. The language of the feminine domestic novel appears within the first half of each text in opposition to the realist discourse of the general narrator. This feminine discourse then disappears from the text, but remains as an other to its realist discourse in the form of an agency which can bring the plot to a proper ending as its realist discourse alone cannot. In the last two instances this agency is associated with folk-culture and the supernatural, and I suggest that its owes its survival within the text to its availability as an object of knowledge in that realist discourse, even while it owes its efficacy to the discourse of the domestic novel. Thus the plots of these novels suppress feminine discourse while ultimately depending on it for their closure. It might be, of course, that Scott is obliged to locate his new type of fiction in relation to this established genre in the early novels as a way of making his texts accessible to an as-yet unestablished readership.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available