Acts of Naming: The Family Plot in Fiction by Michael Ragussis

By Michael Ragussis

Michael Ragussis re-reads the novelistic culture by means of arguing the acts of naming--bestowing, revealing, or incomes a reputation; doing away with, hiding, or prohibiting a reputation; slandering, or preserving and serving it--lie on the heart of fictional plots from the 18th century to the current. opposed to the historical past of philosophic methods to naming, Acts of Naming unearths the ways that platforms of naming are used to suitable characters in novels as different as Clarissa, Fanny Hill, Oliver Twist, Pierre, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Remembrance of items previous, and Lolita, and identifies unnaming and renaming because the locus of energy within the family's plot to manage the kid, and extra really, to rape the daughter. His research additionally treats extra works by means of Cooper, Bront?, Hawthorne, Eliot, Twain, Conrad, and Faulkner, extending the concept that of the naming plot to reimagine the traditions of the unconventional, evaluating American and British plots, male and female plots, inheritance and seduction plots, etc. Acts of Naming ends with a theoretical exploration of the "magical" energy of naming in numerous eras and in several, even competing, types of discourse.

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404). These are the names that Clarissa and Anna give to each other, the names that allow them whatever success they achieve in living beyond the patriarchal family and the lover. In fact, it is not too much to say that Anna as friend allows a complete superseding of the male, so that the male lover, for Clarissa and Anna, becomes a supernumerary. 55), Anna and Clarissa's reaction is to bypass the male, to love without him. 427). Such pronominal transpositions displace the male from the center of language; in the context of the plot of Clarissa, they unname him.

New traits of his early friend" (368). While Brownlow adopts the child who perfectly reproduces the familial features, he spurns the child Monks in whom those features are defaced: "you, who from your cradle were gall and 42 The Naming Plots of Fiction bitterness to your own father's heart, and in whom all evil passions, vice, and profligacy, festered, till they found a vent in a hideous disease which has made your face an index even to your mind" (336). I have been viewing face and name as correlates: the unblemished face is the surest sign of the unstained name in this fable (not until Bleak House, with Esther's scarred but innocent face, does Dickens complicate this pattern).

3). 43). Such exchanges formulate a self grounded outside itself, in another—in another so fundamental to me that I call it my other self, myself. The self named pronominally is the self named provisionally, between selves. "4 In any case, Anna is the friend to whom Clarissa brings the broken "I" (a layered "I" that contains within it another "I"), the self split almost beyond healing, violated by Lovelace: "Once more have I escaped—but, alas! /, my best self, have not escaped! Oh, your poor Clarissa Harlowe!

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