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A Woman Alone and Writing: Anti-Ideology and Artistic Irony in Writings of Mary Shelley

By Delores Archaimbault


This study focuses upon the letters, journals and selected fiction of Mary Shelley and reveals that Shelley engages in the processes of anti-ideology and artistic irony to help her explore gender identity. To show her consistent use of these processes, I juxtapose excerpts from her letters and journals with excerpts from her fiction. The fiction selections are narrowed to three: Frankenstein, Mathilda and The Last Man. In addition, I examine her writing and her use of anti-ideology and artistic irony relative to the influences of her significant others: her mother Mary Wollstonecraft, her father William Godwin and her husband Percy Shelley. In doing so, I also consider the influences of Mary Wollstonecraft\u27s and William Godwin\u27s ideologies. I find that using the processes of anti-ideology to question gender construction and identity does not ultimately work for Shelley since her creative imagination cannot effectively escape the influence of masculine constructions about gender. My study reveals that these masculine constructions are firmly rooted within Shelley\u27s imagination and, as a result, they appear throughout Shelley\u27s journals and letters and in her characterization, plot and figures of speech. Because the masculine constructions about gender identity so heavily influence Shelley\u27s creativity, the anti-ideological questioning process and the artistic irony processes of creation and de-creation do not succeed for Shelley

Topics: Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Literature in English, British Isles
Publisher: The Keep
Year: 1996
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Provided by: The Keep

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