紀要論文 『レディ・スーザン』の矛盾した世界 ─ジェイン・オースティンの書き直されなかった小説─
The Paradoxical World of Lady Susan: Jane Austen’s Novel Which Could Not Be Rewritten

門田, 守

66 ( 1 )  , pp.95 - 109 , 2017-11-30 , 奈良教育大学
ISSN:05472393
NII書誌ID(NCID):AN00181081
内容記述
This essay on Jane Austen’s Lady Susan examines why this novel has remained in epistolary form except its final chapter. Unlike Elinor and Marianne (later Sense and Sensibility) and First Impressions (later Pride and Prejudice), Austen did not rewrite Lady Susan as a story narrated in third-person omniscient viewpoint. This choice of narrative form contributed to a vivid presentation of characters and events in the story. However, we should not forget that letters sent from women stick fast to a female point of view which rejects interposition of male characters’ conducts and opinions. The paradoxical world of Lady Susan partly consists of the eponymous heroine’s selfish behaviours. She waywardly decides to marry her daughter to Sir James Martin neglecting her will, opposes her brotherin-law’s marrying Catherine Vernon though in vain, and tries to separate Mr. Manwaring from his wife to live a happy life with him. Lady Susan, in committing these reckless deeds, shows an increasing resemblance to a female patriarch who tries to preside over the destinies of the people around her. I would not use the word matriarch, because she conducts herself as an unacknowledged ruler of the society. Her efforts to make amorous approaches to Mr. De Courcy, when she still keeps being on intimate terms with Mr. Manwaring, bears testimony to her inclination to regard her lovers as personal properties. The heroine of an insecure social standing as an unpropertied widow, an inevitable victim of patriarchy, holds sway over the men around her, taking advantage of her voluptuous grace and brilliant intelligence. This apparent contradiction that a victim of patriarchy lends a hand in consolidating the social system makes Lady Susan a unique and ironical story. Austen chose to write only the final part of the novel in the third person. This narrative strategy, I wish to argue, helps Austen close the novel without having to lapse into an in-depth description of Lady Susan’s marriage with Sir James, her least favourite partner. This ending may reflect Austen’s conservative attitude as a novelist, but it also keeps the heroine’s unwomanly character intact.
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