Sunday, December 30, 2012

Derecho y Literatura: Género y estudios culturales (y nosotros todavía, "the face in the glass window")



Hilary M. Schor
Curious subjects: women and the trials of realism
Oxford University Press, New York, 2012, 288 pp.
ISBN: 9780199928095


While nineteenth-century literary scholars have long been interested in women''s agency in the context of their legal status as objects, Curious Subjects makes the striking and original argument that what we find at the intersection between women subjects (who choose and enter into contracts) and women objects (owned and defined by fathers, husbands, and the law) is curiosity. Women protagonists in the novel are always both curiosities: strange objects worthy of our interest and actors who are themselves actively curious-relentless askers of questions, even (and perhaps especially) when they are commanded to be content and passive. What kinds of curiosity are possible and desirable, and what different kinds of knowledge do they yield? What sort of subject asks questions, seeks, chooses? Can a curious woman turn her curiosity on herself? Curious Subjects takes seriously the persuasive force of the novel as a form that intervenes in our sense of what women want to know and how they can and should choose to act on that knowledge. And it shows an astonishingly wide and subtly various range of answers to these questions in the British novel, which far from simply punishing women for their curiosity, theorized it, shaped it, and reworked it to give us characters as different as Alice in Wonderland and Dorothea Brooke, Clarissa Harlowe and Louisa Gradgrind. Schor''s study provides thought-provoking new readings of the most canonical novels of the nineteenth century -Hard Times, Bleak House, Vanity Fair, Daniel Deronda, among others-and pushes well beyond commonplace historicist accounts of British culture in the period as a monolithic ideological formation. It will interest scholars of law and literature, narratology, and feminist theory as well as literary history more generally

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION: THE CURIOUS PRINCESS, THE NOVEL AND THE LAW

PART ONE: FORMING THE NOVEL
1: THE MAKING OF THE CURIOUS HEROINE: ENLIGHTENMENT, CONTRACT AND THE NOVEL
2: READING FOR THE TEST, TRYING THE HEROINE: THE CURIOSITY DEFENSE
3: ALICE AND THE CURIOUS ROOM

PART TWO: CROSSING THE THRESHOLD
4: WAS SHE GUILTY OR NOT?: THE CURIOUS HEROINE MEETS THE WICKED NOVELIST
5: BLEAK HOUSE AND THE CURIOUS SECRETS: "WHO COPIED THAT"
6: THE BLUEBEARD OF THE CLASSROOM: BAD MARRIAGES, GENERAL LAWS, AND THE DAUGHTER'S CURIOSITY
7: GEORGE ELIOT AND THE CURIOUS BRIDE: GHOSTS IN THE DAYLIGHT; CONCLUSION: THE CLOCKWORK PRINCESS, OR, JUSTICE FOR THE DOLLS


Hilary M. Schor is Professor of English, Comparative Literature, Gender Studies and Law at the University of Southern California, where she codirects the USC Center for Law, History and Culture. She is the author of Scheherezade in the Marketplace: Elizabeth Gaskell and the Victorian Novel (Oxford University Press, 1992, 236 pp. ISBN:  978-0195073881), and Dickens and the Daughter of the House [Cambridge University Press, 1999, 248 pp. ISBN: 978-0521042635 (2007, 2ª ed.)].







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En Dickens and the Daughter of the House Hilary M. Schor sorprendió con el análisis de la figura de las ‘hijas’ –Little Nell, Agnes Wickfield, Esther Summerson, Amy Dorrit–  en la novelistica de Dickens. Se trataba de un estudio cultural con tan evidente como bien ponderado enfoque de género. Vid. la recensión de Shirley Jones en Women's History Review, 12, 4 (2003). pp. 679-710.
Ahora lo reitera y lo conduce más allá; esto es, tomando pie en la novela anglo-americana, canónicamente ejemplificada (Hard Times, Bleak House, Jane Eyre, The Portrait of a Lady, Middlemarch, etc.), su examen se desenvuelve, además, con el ‘charme’ característico del seductor toque estructuralista y narratológico francés (Barthes). además de con apelación a la lucidez intelectual de Foucault.
Pero la sugestividad de esta obra es mayor, al menos a mi interrogación. Porque me lleva a reflexionar sobre una inquietante realidad en lo más doméstico de nuestros intereses de género. Entre nosotros existe una casi absoluta ausencia de trabajos que expliquen el sustrato cultural –y la literatura parece uno bastante firme, creo– de los problemas concernidos en las ‘cuestiones’ de género. Del trabajo de Schor deberiamos tomar cuenta y razón. Entre tanto, se nos quedará the face in the glass window.
Por mi parte, incito y animo cuanto me es posible a practicar este tipo de investigaciones en el ámbito jurídico, utilizando también material y metodología propios de ‘Derecho y Literatura’ y Teoría crítica del Derecho. Algún resultado he obtenido, y me felicito por ello. Recuerdo a Cristina Monereo Atienza con “Narrativa y Género. Sobre desigualdad y justicia social en Villette de C. Brönte e Insolación de E. Pardo Bazán”, en la obra que coordiné con el título de Implicación Derecho Literatura. Contribuciones a una Teoría literaria del Derecho, Comares, 2008, pp. 235-252 (ISBN 978-84-9836-344-9).Aventuro –en realidad, lo sé– que no tardará mucho en ver la luz un nuevo fruto.

J.C.G.

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