Familiar Violence: Gender and Social Upheaval in the Novels of Frances Burney

University of Delaware Press, 1997 - 167 páginas
Readers of Frances Burney have often been struck by the way the apparently polished surface of her novels frequently erupts in scenes of physical and psychological violence. The wide scope of this violence includes sexual harassment, men's and women's suicidal activity, and insidious cases of emotional abuse. In Familiar Violence, Barbara Zonitch argues that Burney's preoccupation with violence originates in her fear that the demise of aristocratic social domination, while freeing women from its systemic abuses, nevertheless exposes them to the less predictable violence of modern life. And thus the question is: What will replace this means of social protection and control? On the evidence of Burney's novels, the choice is an untenable one, between the harsh restraints of aristocratic rule and the alternative forms of violence created by newer versions of social control.

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