In the previous chapter I introduced a lot of new ideas very quickly; I now want to take stock. I’m going to continue with the new approaches I have been discussing, but I now intend to work through three novels in the methodical way I described in the opening chapters of this book. It should soon become apparent that even the most radical readings can be accommodated within, and indeed shaped and directed by, a very simple framework. In other words, although you may change the assumptions that you bring to studying novels, there is no reason to change the basic method of building a case from specific passages. What follows in this chapter are not theoretically pure readings: as most critics do, I slide from one position to another in the analysis of each novel, but it is fair to say that the analysis of Heart of Darkness has its basis in deconstruction, that the reading of Tess of the D’Urbervilles is influenced by Marxist and feminist criticism, and that the interpretation of Emma owes a good deal to New Historicism. Let me repeat the point, however, that everything I say is based upon the evidence of specific passages in the texts, and, more particularly, as this is something that characterises all current approaches, close attention to the language of these extracts.
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