By Linda M. Lewis
By means of analyzing literary snap shots of the lady as artist, Linda M. Lewis strains the matrilineal inheritance of 4 Victorian novelists and poets: George Eliot, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Geraldine Jewsbury, and Mrs. Humphry Ward. She argues that whereas the male Romantic artist observed himself as god and hero, the lady of genius lacked a guiding delusion until eventually Germaine de Sta?l and George Sand created one. The method of this e-book contains fantasy feedback, feminist statement, and psychoanalytic conception, yet its energy lies in Lewis's shut analyzing of the intertextuality of ten literary works.
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Extra resources for Germaine De Stael, George Sand, and the Victorian Woman Artist
Staël depicts her artist as transported by the passion and “enthusiasm” that come from within, in Corinne “vivacité de l’esprit” (C, ). ” In the drama Sapho it is enthusiasm of nature and love of the beautiful that qualify one as a priest of Apollo. In De l’Allemagne Staël defines enthusiasm as the love of the beautiful, the elevation of soul, the enjoyment of pure devotion, and universal harmony. She adds that, with the Greeks, she accepts “l’enthousiasme signifie Dieu en nous” (enthusiasm signifies God in us).
Both Staël and Sand acknowledge that women of genius, like ordinary women, seek happiness in marital domesticity or sexual bliss. As Sand’s Consuelo proclaims she would abandon the stage for a great and abiding love, so does Corinne proclaim love greater than fame. In recalling her failures with the German nobleman and Italian prince, Corinne confesses to Nelvil, “Je me crus destinée à ne jamais aimer de toute la puissance de mon ame; quelquefois cette idée m’était pénible, plus souvent je m’applaudissais d’être libre .
Then, when her English hero deserts her, she proves her prophecy true by writing no more poetry in her final half decade of life and—like Richardson’s Clarissa—by willing the death she has prophesied. Briefly told, the thwarted romance leads to disaster. During his romantic sojourn in Italy with the fascinating Corinne, Nelvil is recalled by his regiment for service in the West Indies; he returns to England, where he meets the perfect candidate for an “English” wife (angelic, dutiful, devout, reserved, domestic, timid), and this newly discovered treasure is quite the opposite of Corinne (angelic and religious, true enough, but also sophisticated, assertive, opinionated, extroverted, and brilliant).