An Ethics of Becoming
Configurations of Feminine Subjectivity in Jane Austen Charlotte Bronte, and George Eliot
Routledge – 2006 – 262 pages
In attempting to conceptualize feminine subjectivity beyond the familiar paradigm of dualism and within the parameters of ethics, this study examines the political and intellectual identity of contemporary poststructuralist feminism and its profound resonance with the nineteenth-century British female Bildungsroman. Rooted in fundamental questions about the nexus between feminist theory and feminist literature, genre and gender, subjectivity and ethics, sexuality and textuality, and mimesis and politics, this book aims specifically to configure feminine subjectivity in the horizon of becoming - always incomplete, non-identarian, performative, unknowable, and thus paradoxically unbecoming - as it disseminates in a modality of alterity in novels by Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, and George Eliot. The close reading of major novels by these women writers illuminates the artistic density and ethical depth of their writing by demonstrating that these women writers rewrite the genealogy of subjectivity and invent their own Bildungsroman as a rich narrative vehicle for the feminine.
San Jeong Cho is currently teaching at Seoul National University, South Korea.