Five for Freedom A Study of Feminism in Fiction
First published in 1972 Five for Freedom is a candid study of five European fictional heroines as anticipatory of contemporary feminism: Madame de Merteuil of Choderlos de Laclos’ Les Liaisons dangereuses, Jane Eyre, Emma Bovary, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and Tony Buddenbrook. Professor Wagner clearly believes that, in the first place, the role of women in the development of fiction has been underestimated, while the claims to originality of many recent female liberationists have been equally overestimated.
This is a far-ranging, lightly-handled book with insights into both mode of fiction, as it developed and answered women’s demands, and into the role of some of its leading heroines; for Professor Wagner’s studies do not limit themselves strictly to the ‘five for freedom’ but foray into Balzac’s Cousine Bette, Catherine Earnshaw of Wuthering Heights, Anna Karenina, and Eca de Queiroz’s Portuguese Bovary in Cousin Bazilio. This brilliant little study is topical, readable, yet learned. It will be useful for scholars and researchers of literature, Women’s studies, and Gender studies.
1. Introduction 2. Madame de Merteuil Woman as a Sexual Object: With a Coda on La Cousine Bette 3. Jane Eyre With a Commencement on Catherine Earnshaw: Beyond Biology 4. Emma Bovary The Usurper: With A Coda on Luiza of Cousin Bazilio 5. Tess of the D’Urbervilles The ‘Pure’ Woman 6. Tony Buddenbrook The Fall of the Family Index