Concealing the Eighteenth-Century Self
By (author) Patricia Meyer Spacks
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Privacy by Patricia Meyer Spacks
Book DescriptionToday we consider privacy a right to be protected. But in 18th-century England, privacy was seen as a problem, even a threat. Women reading alone and people hiding their true thoughts from one another in conversation generated fears of uncontrollable fantasies and profound anxieties about insincerity. In "Privacy", Patricia Meyer Spacks explores 18th-century concerns about privacy and the strategies people developed to avoid public scrutiny and social pressure. She examines, for instance, the way people hid behind common rules of etiquette to mask their innermost feelings and how, in fact, people were taught to employ such devices. She considers the erotic overtones that privacy aroused in its suppression of deeper desires. And perhaps most important, she explores the idea of privacy as a societal threat - one that bred pretense and hypocrisy in its practitioners. Through inspired readings of novels by Defoe, Richardson, Fielding and Sterne, along with a penetrating glimpse into diaries, autobiographies, poems and works of pornography written during the period, Spacks ultimately shows how writers charted the imaginative possibilities of privacy and its social repercussions. Finely nuanced and elegantly conceived, Spack's new work should interest anyone who has relished concealment or mourned its recent demise.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780226768601
(236mm x 161mm x 21mm)
Imprint: University of Chicago Press
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Publish Date: 8-Jul-2003
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Patricia Meyer Spacks
On Rereading, Paperback (November 2013)
After retiring from teaching literature, the author embarked on a year-long project of rereading dozens of novels: childhood favorites, young adult fiction, canonical works she didn't like, and guilty pleasures.
Persuasion, Paperback (July 2012)
Jane Austen's last complete novel is now available in a revised Norton Critical Edition. The volume emphasizes new trends in critical discourse, which have enormous importance for our understanding of Austen's achievement.
Pride and Prejudice, Hardback (October 2010)
Provides notes on literary and historical contexts, allusions, and language of Jane Austen's most popular novel "Pride and Prejudice" (1813). This title explores the value and art of literary annotation. It also provides analysis of Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet, Lady Catherine, and all the characters who inhabit the world of "Pride and Prejudice."
Reading Eighteenth-Century Poetry, Hardback (January 2009)» View all books by Patricia Meyer Spacks
Reading Eighteenth-Century Poetry recaptures for modern readers the urgency, distinctiveness and rewarding nature of this challenging and powerful body of poetry.
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Author Biography - Patricia Meyer Spacks
Patricia Meyer Spacks is the Edgar F. Shannon Professor of English at the University of Virginia. She is the author of eleven previous books, including "Desire and Truth: Functions of Plot in Eighteenth-Century English Novels" and "Boredom: The Literary History of a State of Mind," both published by the University of Chicago Press.
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