Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1986

Department

French

Abstract

Prefacing The Heroine's Text, her study of the French and English novel 1722-1782, with an explanation of its binary structure, Nancy Miller explains that in the first section, "The Euphoric Text," the inscription of female destiny is a positive one, ending with the heroine's integration into society; in the second section, "The Dysphoric Text," this inscription is negative, culminating in the heroine's premature death. Marriage, the law of the father, decides the ladies' lot and to accept the paternally designated husband is to live happily ever after...[Miller] concludes that the eighteenth-century heroine's text is "a masculine representation of female desire produced ultimately for an audience not of women readers, but of men." In short, it appears that men who inscribe feminine desire within and for the patriarchal system necessarily and irreconcilably dichotomize this inscription.

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