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Gossip, Letters, PhonesThe Scandal of Female Networks in Film and Literature$
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Ned Schantz

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195335910

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195335910.001.0001

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Gossip and the Novel

Gossip and the Novel

Chapter:
(p.10) CHAPTER 1 Gossip and the Novel
Source:
Gossip, Letters, Phones
Author(s):

Ned Schantz (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195335910.003.0002

With attention to major incarnations of the British novel, this chapter positions gossip as the central, disavowed source of interest in novelistic discourse. Reading Emma and The Portrait of a Lady closely, it tracks the seduction of the reader into gendered habits of scapegoating and sadism that characterize gossip at its worst. To counteract these dynamics, the chapter mobilizes untapped textual resources toward a more generous feminist mode of gossip, and thereby challenges conventional assumptions about character and plot from the status of Mrs. Elton to the fate of Isabel Archer.

Keywords:   gossip, interest, seduction, sadism, Emma, The Portrait of a Lady

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