Mary-Antoinette Smith

Mary-Antoinette SMITH, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of 18th and 19th Century British Literature and Director of Women Studies at Seattle University. She specializes in gender theory and interrogates oppressive stratifications as they are reflected in race, class, and gender issues across literary genres from 1660 to 1901. Her Broadview Literary Texts edition of Thomas Clarkson and Ottobah Cugoano: Essays on the Slavery of the Human Species is presently in press and will appear in 2009/2010.
Seattle University

Articles de l'auteur

Cycnos | Volume 25 Spécial - 2008

Becoming Jane: Embedded Epistolarity in Jane Eyre’s Writing Herself into Being

Charlotte Brontë’s title heroine in Jane Eyre: An Autobiography peripherally adopts the 18th century epistolary literary convention for the purpose of writing herself into being by the conclusion of her narrative. In employing an innovatively embedded epistolarity Jane devises an intimate letter-writing dialectic between herself and her reader that results in the successful purging of her horrific past, once and for all. This transformational path reflects Michel Foucault’s endorsement of “self writing” as a requisite for “care of the self” [souci de soi], as well as bell hooks’ veneration of the importance of “writing [one’s] autobiography” as a means of purgation. Jane Eyre’s self-writing facilitates her cathartic ability to emerge as a fully realized independent woman who successfully leaves the traumas of her past behind in order to assume her role as Mrs. Jane Rochester, matriarch of the manor, as a fully developed whole and autonomous self.

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