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Historical Romance, Gender and Heterosexuality: John Fowles's The French Lieutenant's Woman and A.S. Byatt's Possession
Fletcher, LM (2003) Historical Romance, Gender and Heterosexuality: John Fowles's The French Lieutenant's Woman and A.S. Byatt's Possession. Journal of Interdisciplinary Gender Studies, 7 (1 & 2). pp. 26-42.
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This essay is a comparative analysis of two historical romance novels: John Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman and A.S. Byatt’s Possession. While I acknowledge that some of the key storytelling priorities in Possession oppose those of The French Lieutenant’s Woman, I emphasise structural similarities in the treatments of the heroines in these two novels. My analysis of the characterisation and narrative function of Sarah Woodruff and Christabel LaMotte illustrates the novels’ common paradigmatic structure and reveals a deeper shared allegiance to heterosexual hegemony. I argue that these characters are crucial to the complex negotiation of the past which both novels offer. They enable, in Diane Elam’s words, “a re– engendering of the historical past as romance.” Sarah and Christabel’s representation as both historical and outside of history provides the conduit for the elaborate to–ing and fro–ing between the Victorian age and the late twentieth century which is central to both novels. The double aspect of these characters depends on allegorical stereotyping of women as “mystery” and “truth.”
|Keywords:||Fowls, Byatt, historical fiction, romance, history, heterosexuality|
|Journal or Publication Title:||Journal of Interdisciplinary Gender Studies|
|Page Range:||pp. 26-42|
|Date Deposited:||24 Jan 2007|
|Last Modified:||18 Nov 2014 03:12|
|Item Statistics:||View statistics for this item|
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