Turning the Glacier: Modernity and Complex Identity in the Novellas

  • Melissa Schaub


Elizabeth Gaskell’s short stories and novels are suggestive in deciding when it is most appropriate to apply Judith Butler’s theory of performativity optimistically, but so many different factors separate the characters and tone of the two forms that it is difficult to isolate the most important aspect. Gaskell wrote in an intermediate form as well: first-person novellas set in a rural location, with a narrator who maintains a sense of detachment from the customs of the local people. The narrative format of these texts creates an ideal environment for certain characters to be able to recognize the discourses that compel their performances and to slip those bonds to some degree. The chapter examines Cranford, My Lady Ludlow, and Cousin Phillis.


Elizabeth Gaskell Judith Butler Performativity Cranford My Lady Ludlow Cousin Phillis 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melissa Schaub
    • 1
  1. 1.University of North Carolina at PembrokePembrokeUSA

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