Volume 80, Issue 1 | March 2019

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Jonathan Arac Introduction: Desire and Domestic Fiction after Thirty Years
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Rachel Albow Taking Responsibility in Desire and Domestic Fiction  
Nancy Armstrong famously identifies middle-class white Victorian women writers not just as passive victimes of ideology but as possessors of relative privilege in relation to power. Even more radically, she identifies herself as possessing analogous forms of power as a woman writer and a feminist critic.
Ian Duncan Against the Bildungsroman  
Trained on the history of the novel in English, Nancy Armstrong’s Desire and Domestic Fiction also illuminates continental European developments. Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship, the prototype of the nineteenth-century “novel of development” (Bildungsroman), forms itself against domestic fiction and its core principle, that “the modern individual was first and foremost a woman.” Goethe’s novel elects a male protagonist as the universal subject of a modern developmental logic of human nature, and articulates his progress upon a succession of sacrificial stages occupied by the story’s women. In a militant response, Germaine de Staël’s Corinne re-feminizes the novelistic protagonist, investing the role with the developmental imperative of Bildung and the claim on universal human representativeness, realized through the heroine’s artistic vocation. Corinne, however, falls into a conventional love story and is sacrificed to a marriage plot, which here and elsewhere Staël identifies with the distinctively English genre of domestic fiction. Refusing to naturalize the arrangements analyzed in Desire and Domestic Fiction from its position outside the English tradition, Corinne shows that the hegemony of domestic realism was neither absolute nor inevitable.
Deidre Lynch Social, Sexual, and Other Contracts in Eighteenth-Century Novels  
This essay highlights the role that Enlightenment conjectural histories and liberal concepts of contractual exchange play in Armstrong’s revisionist description of the rise of the novel. It urges scholars of the novel to follow the example of Desire and Domestic Fiction and remember more often the eighteenth-century narrative experiments that unfolded when liberalism was still new. Eliza Haywood’s novel of amorous (and sapphic) intrigue The British Recluse (1722) suggests one reason to do that remembering. To see how Haywood uses the figure of the contract--in ways very different from Richardson and Austen-- is to better apprehend how in the early eighteenth century the marriage plot’s ideal of heterosexual complementary had not yet become the only game in town.
Jesse Rosenthal Keeping Secrets  
This essay looks at literary criticism’s persistent confession of critics’' secret relations to literature. The essay argues that such formalized secrecy and confession is used to insist on a personal orientation toward the literary object, which helps to deny the institutional forces---both practical and abstract---on which criticism depends. Desire and Domestic Fiction, which focuses on the rewriting of the political and economic as the personal, offers a powerful lens for understanding this process.
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Nancy Armstrong Afterword: Waiting for Foucault
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Michelle M. Dowd Judith Shakespeare's Brother  
Virginia Woolf’s account of Shakespeare’s fictional sister, Judith, in A Room of One’s Own offers a productive vantage point for investigating questions of gender, authority, and inheritance in Shakespeare’s late romances. These plays are notable for their formal hybridity and their acute attention to the role of women, particularly daughters, within the patriarchal family and its attendant economic systems. They share Woolf’s interest in the economic, inheritable underpinnings of female authority, the social forms of a patrilineal culture that help demarcate the possibilities for women as subjects. Shakespeare adapts the lost-child device from Roman new comedy to make female loss central to his tragicomic plots—much as it is to Woolf’s tragic narrative of Judith. New comic plotting offers a provisional, conservative solution to the historical problem of the heiress, but Shakespeare’s romances also at times imagine alternative configurations of genealogical knowledge.
Zsolt Komáromy Contradictions as Patterns in Literary History: Skepticism, Common Sense, and the Conversational Idiom of Churchill and Cowper
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Lloyd Pratt Nancy Armstrong and Leonard Tennenhouse, Novels in the Time of Democratic Writing: The American Example
Robert Stevick Daniel Donoghue, How the Anglo-Saxons Read Their Poems
Juliet Shields Leah Orr, Novel Ventures: Fiction and Print Culture in England, 1690-1730; Joseph Drury, Novel Machines: Technology and Narrative Form in Enlightenment Britain
Vadim Shneyder Jillian Porter, Economies of Feeling: Russian Literature under Nicholas I
Vera M. Kutzinski Harris Feinsod, The Poetry of the Americas. From Good Neighbors to Countercultures

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