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No Fairy-tale: the Story of Marriage in Trollope’s He Knew He Was Right

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Abstract

The first library that gave me a reader’s ticket was the municipal library in Birmingham, when I was a child. Harborne Public Library offered a service which the university libraries that I use these days fail to provide. Or perhaps they have reason to hesitate before the task. In Harborne Library the books were divided strictly into two categories, fiction and non-fiction and they were issued on separate tickets. As a child, I was given a ticket for each one; they did not let us take out storybooks on the ticket meant for non-fiction. At the time I sensed an implied rebuke, without examining what might lie behind it but today, as I sit down to write about fictions of adultery, I come to a pause. I find myself asking today whether I believe that a taste for fiction is really less commendable than a taste for what passes itself off as the truth. And I wonder on what shelf and in what library I should find a book that would tell the truth about marriage.

Keywords

Manly Fellow Great Price Compulsory Heterosexuality Scarlet Letter Cult Honour 
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Notes

  1. 4.
    Luce Irigaray, Le corps-à-corps avec la mère (Montreal, 1981).Google Scholar
  2. See also Margaret Whitford, Luce Irigaray: Philosophy in the Feminine (London and New York, 1991), 75–97.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Oxford Classical Dictionary, second edition, eds N.G.L. Hammond and H.H. Scullard (Oxford, 1970), 81–2.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    See G.W. Stocking*** Jr, Victorian Anthropology (London and New York, 1987), pp. 35–6 and passim. Google Scholar
  5. 12.
    See Lynda Nead, Myths of sexuality: the representation of women in Victorian Britain (Oxford and New York, 1988), pp. 13–47.Google Scholar
  6. Since completing this argument my attention has been drawn to the work of Joseph A. Kestner, Masculinities in Victorian Painting (Aldershot, 1995). Kestner proposes five key paradigms of masculinity: classical hero, gallant knight, challenged paterfamilias, valiant soldier and male nude. These coincide interestingly with the set of positions that Trevelyan, his father-in-law and Colonel Osborne could be said to take up between them.Google Scholar
  7. 13.
    See Hugh Honour, The Image of the Black in Western Art (Cambridge, Mass., 1989) Vol. IV, Part 2, 54 and Sander L. Gilman ‘Black Bodies, White Bodies: Toward an Iconography of Female Sexuality in Late Nineteenth-Century Art, Medecine, and Literature’, Critical Inquiry 12, no. 1 (Autumn 1985): 213–19.Google Scholar
  8. 14.
    Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger: an Examination of Ritual and Taboo (New York, 1966), 159–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 17.
    See ‘Anthony Trollope’ (1883), reprinted in Leon Edel ed., The House of Fiction (London, 1957), 103–4.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1997

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