By Ann Gaylin
This research investigates human interest and its depiction in eavesdropping scenes in nineteenth-century English and French novels. Ann Gaylin sheds gentle at the social and mental results of the nineteenth-century upward push of data know-how and speeded up circulation of data, as manifested within the anxieties approximately (and appreciate) screens of personal existence and its secrets and techniques. She analyzes eavesdropping in Austen, Balzac, Collins, and Proust. This cutting edge examine is of curiosity to students of nineteenth-century English and eu literature.
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Additional info for Eavesdropping in the Novel from Austen to Proust
Often, bearing news can confer upon an individual greater status than he or she would normally have; the urge to tell is motivated more by egotism than concern for others or for communication. ” of her visit to the Collinses, Elizabeth privately adds, “And how much I shall have to conceal,” even though her very next thought is, “To know that she had the power of revealing what would so exceedingly astonish Jane . . was such a temptation to openness” (). Everyone has stories to tell, and the temptation to tell them is great.
Eavesdropping renders transgression in concrete terms. It challenges notions of private and public space, and dramatizes the cultural assumptions about people and events that take place in such areas. ” Goffman points out that: Theoretically, it is possible for boundaries like thick walls to close the region off physically from outside communication; almost always, however, some Introduction communication across the boundary is physically possible. Social arrangements are therefore recognized that restrict such communication to a special part of the boundary, such as doors, and that lead persons inside and outside the region to act as if the barrier had cut off more communication than it does.
The reader, too, finds himself or herself in the position of making judgments about characters and situation, and of trying to anticipate marriages and endings. Conversation comprises a direct, unmediated form of communication between two individuals. In contrast, eavesdropping is an oblique means of acquiring information about another. However, suspicious people are actually eager listeners; they wish to hear anything that will confirm their unfavorable opinions of others. Elizabeth, contrary to Moretti’s assertion, is thus both suspicious of Darcy, ready to believe ill of him, and eager to have her early Eavesdropping in the Novel from Austen to Proust impressions confirmed by others’ stories about him; she is an all too avid listener.