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The Conflict of Voice in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Blithedale Romance


Straumann, Barbara (2013). The Conflict of Voice in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Blithedale Romance. In: Ljungberg, Christina; Klarer, Mario. Cultures in Conflict / Conflicting Cultures. Tübingen: Swiss Association of University Teachers of English, SAUTE, 93-107.

Abstract

Taking as my theoretical point of departure Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of heteroglossia and Friedrich Nietzsche’s notion of culture as a battleground of conflicting opposites, I argue that there is a conflict of voice at the centre of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Blithedale Romance. To be more precise, the text foregrounds a power struggle between the voice of the feminist performer Zenobia and the voice of the first-person narrator Miles Coverdale. Coverdale’s narrative is motivated by his wish – and failure – to read Zenobia, who defines herself by virtue of her perpetual performance. Disturbed by the fact that Zenobia has a position of her own, Coverdale seeks to contain her powerful voice, which continues to haunt him twelve years after her death. In my paper I trace how the conflict of voice between the dead performer and the haunted narrator is inscribed textually as well as the ways in which this highlights a cultural conflict over the woman’s voice.

Taking as my theoretical point of departure Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of heteroglossia and Friedrich Nietzsche’s notion of culture as a battleground of conflicting opposites, I argue that there is a conflict of voice at the centre of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Blithedale Romance. To be more precise, the text foregrounds a power struggle between the voice of the feminist performer Zenobia and the voice of the first-person narrator Miles Coverdale. Coverdale’s narrative is motivated by his wish – and failure – to read Zenobia, who defines herself by virtue of her perpetual performance. Disturbed by the fact that Zenobia has a position of her own, Coverdale seeks to contain her powerful voice, which continues to haunt him twelve years after her death. In my paper I trace how the conflict of voice between the dead performer and the haunted narrator is inscribed textually as well as the ways in which this highlights a cultural conflict over the woman’s voice.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > English Department
Dewey Decimal Classification:820 English & Old English literatures
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:23 Jan 2014 15:02
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:29
Publisher:Swiss Association of University Teachers of English, SAUTE
Series Name:SPELL: Swiss papers in English language and literature
Number:29
ISSN:0940-0478
ISBN:978-3-8233-6829-8
Related URLs:http://www.narr-shop.de/index.php/cultures-in-conflict-conflicting-cultures.html

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