Cover image for Sisters in literature : female sexuality in Antigone, Middlemarch, Howards End, and Women in love
Title:
Sisters in literature : female sexuality in Antigone, Middlemarch, Howards End, and Women in love
Author:
Hirai, Masako, 1949-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Basingstoke [England] : Macmillan Press ; New York : St. Martin's Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
xii, 221 pages ; 23 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780312214210

9780333731451
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library PR888.S52 H57 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

There is no doubt that Lawrence read Forster; that he and Forster read George Eliot; and that all three read Antigone, So its basic theme of the two sisters--two women with contrasting temperaments, who face a life-crisis, argue passionately about it, act differently but remain loyal to each other, and are deeply changed by what happens--is common to all the books. This has not been observed elsewhere, or treated at length, and it is an interesting and significant argument, especially for today's readers. Masako Hirai shows her theme being taken at the deep level and profoundly appropriated by the authors. She draws on biographical material to show why it mattered to each of them personally, without falling into psychological crudities.


Summary

A unique study of how novels by Lawrence, Forster and George Eliot can be read as rewritings of Sophocles's Antigone : each is presented as a socially and sexually involving argument between two sisters. The author provides an interconnected case-study where each text works on the hidden meanings of the other. Female sexuality, expressed through the language of duality (vulnerability, frustration, submission and destructivity, consummation and rebirth), becomes an ideal vehicle for crossing the barriers between sexes and between societies, as between the texts themselves.


Author Notes

Masako Hirai is Professor in the English Department at Kobe University in Nishinomiya, Japan.


Reviews 1

Choice Review

Hirai (Kobe College, Japan) situates Antigone as a master text for the "two sisters" plots in Middlemarch, Howards End, and Women in Love. Although she claims to show that Eliot, Forster, and Lawrence use the story of two sisters to "evoke the energy of modernity," she neither explains in what sense she herself is invoking "modernity" (a highly contested term), nor examines how the three authors differ in their relation to "modernity." As Hirai herself points out, the idea of a tradition stretching from Eliot to Lawrence is "nothing new," and her observation that Eliot, Forster, and Lawrence use the theme of the two sisters to represent social and psychological conflict remains just that--an observation, not an argument. Furthermore, Hirai conflates all conflicts--conservatism/liberalism, sense/passion, spirit/body--without distinguishing between the issues. More problematic is her focus on "close textual analysis" rather than "the historical and intellectual aspects" of the works she examines. Her search for a transhistorical meaning results from her hasty dismissal of poststructural theory, which she asserts "has had its vogue, but ... no real adoption." Not recommended. H. A. Booth; SUNY at Buffalo


Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction
The Common Doom
ReadingAntigone
Middlemarch:From Heroic Legend to Emotional History
Howards End:From Letters to a Connecting Vision
Women in Love(1): The Disruptive Style, its Images and Arguments
Women in Love(2): The Language Between
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction
The Common Doom
ReadingAntigone
Middlemarch:From Heroic Legend to Emotional History
Howards End:From Letters to a Connecting Vision
Women in Love(1): The Disruptive Style, its Images and Arguments
Women in Love(2): The Language Between
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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