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Full-Text Articles in Comparative Literature
Desire In The Bildungsroman: Construction And Pursuit Of An Ideal Self Through The Ideal Other, Ethan Watson
The Bildungsroman, or “novel of education,” has remained popular since Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship. I examine this novel, as well as Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations, and Walter Moers’s Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures, focusing specifically on the relationships between the three male protagonists and the women that they encounter throughout their lives. Using the theories of psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, literary critic René Girard, and feminist philosopher Judith Butler, I draw parallels between and contribute to the scholarly conversation of all three works (or in the case of Moers's recent fantasy, Rumo, begin the critical conversation). All three protagonists mirror the women that they encounter, creating visions of ideal selves that they strive to become. The characters’ progress and relationships, though different, all exemplify Lacan’s Mirror Stage theory, as well as the theories of desire in Girard and Butler; the latter two theories take Lacan’s ideas further and contribute to my comparison of characteristics in these three coming of age novels. I argue that, no matter the length of their journey or the final results of their relationships, successfully completing the Mirror Stage leads the protagonists to become their ideal selves
Violence And Edification In 19th Century Fiction: An Analysis Of The Novels Of Charles Dickens And Leo Tolstoy, Caroline Fassett
This Thesis argues that violence is essential to the structures and plots of Charles Dickens’s Barnaby Rudge and A Tale of Two Cities and of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Anna Karenina, and is particularly essential to the edification, or the moral and intellectual improvement, of principal characters in these four novels. Additionally, this Thesis contends that this edification is both anticipated and reinforced by the novelists’ incorporation of counterparts whose demeanor and/or narrative overtly mirror that of the principal characters.
To support this argument, I bring the theory of Thomas Carlyle into conversation with the ...