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Narrative Structure and Reader Formation in Lady Mary Wroth's Urania





ISBN 9781472479754
Published December 15, 2016 by Routledge
254 Pages - 7 B/W Illustrations

 
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Book Description

Narrative Structure and Reader Formation in Lady Mary Wroth’s Urania offers the first systematic formal and thematic analysis of Wroth’s Urania in its historical context and explores the structural means by which Wroth fashions her readership. The book thus has a dual focus, at once on narrative art and reader formation. It makes two original claims, the first being that the Urania is not the unorganized accumulation of stories critics have tended to present it as, but a work of sophisticated narrative structures i.e. a complex text in a positive sense. These structures are revealed by means of a circumspect narratological analysis of the formal and thematic patterns that organise the Urania. Such an analysis furthers our understanding of the reading strategies that Wroth encourages. The second claim is, then, that through the careful structuring of her text Wroth seeks to create her own ideal readership. More precisely, the formal and thematic structures of the Urania engage with readers’ expectations, inviting them to reflect on prominent thematic issues and respond to the text as what early modern prefaces term "good" readers. Combining narratological methods with a generic perspective and taking into account the work of book historians on early modern reading practices, this monograph provides a new approach to the Urania, supplementing the typically gender- or (auto)biographically-oriented interpretations of the romance. Moreover, it contributes to the study of early modern (prose) narrative and romance and exemplifies how historically contextualised narratological analysis may yield new insights and profit research on reading strategies.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents





List of Tables and Figures



Acknowledgements



Introduction



Chapter 1: Entering the Urania through the Frontispiece



Abundance versus Lack



Reading the Lack of Prefatory Material



Reading the Abundance of the Frontispiece



Conclusions



Chapter 2: Narrator and Narratee: Guidance, Critical Sympathy and Discretion



The Gender-Neutral Narrator



Textual Guidance: Orientation and Cohesion



Sympathy and Criticism



The Art of Narration and Discretion



The Narratee



The Published First Part vs. the Manuscript Continuation



Chapter 3: Narrative Levels and Strands: Emotional Immediacy, Proliferation and the Promise of Closure



Narrative Levels



Narrative Strands



The Published First Part vs. the Manuscript Continuation



Chapter 4: Space and Displacements: Multiple Reading Modes and Tensions of Meaning



Reading Space and Settings



Spatial Movements and Travel Patterns



Chapter 5: Recurring Themes and Plots: Textually Inscribed Reflection and Debate



Recurring Themes and Plots



The Quest for Identity



Conquering and Defending a Throne



Love Matters



Courtship



Male Infidelity



Marriage



Supporting and Contrasting Inset Tales



Conclusion: Interpretive Freedom vs. Closure – The Story of Drusio and Isabella



Appendix



Bibliography



Primary Sources



Secondary Sources



Index

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Author(s)

Biography

Rahel Orgis is a postdoctoral researcher on behalf of the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland and coordinator for the English doctoral programme of CUSO (Conférence universitaire de Suisse occidentale).