Claire Jarvis on Edith's Two Bodies
Wednesday, March 22nd, 5:15 pm, at the Center for the Humanities at Temple.
Pre-circulated paper via the p19 listserv or contact us.
This paper is about Edith Dombey and the strange work her character does for Dickens in Dombey and Son. My aim is that you’ll see Edith – proud, angry, imperious, powerful – in all her peculiarity, and that you’ll think a bit more about what that peculiarity does to this (in some ways) quite conventional Dickens novel. Edith is often read as a practice run for the, in most accounts, more fully developed Estella plot in Great Expectations, written fifteen years later, but I want to think about her character on its own terms, as well as in relation to a larger panoply of womanly characters in nineteenth century fiction.
Claire Jarvis(Stanford) studies British literature of the long nineteenth century with emphasis on the novel and theories of sexuality. Her first book, Exquisite Masochism: Sex, Marriage and the Novel Form was recently published by The Johns Hopkins University Press in Spring of 2016. Claire is interested in intersections between popular culture and intellectual life, and the status of the novel in narrative studies. She has recently presented or published work on Jeff Koons, Charles Dickens, The Wire, D. H. Lawrence, Anthony Trollope, Barbara Pym, Tom McCarthy and E. L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy. She is currently working on a second book project, tentatively titled The Victorian Past of Literary Fiction, which analyzes 20th and 21st century literature’s uses of nineteenth century poetic, novelistic and aesthetic theories.