AbstractsLanguage, Literature & Linguistics

The Romance of Social Problems in Austen and Gaskell

by Natasha Doski

Institution: Wake Forest University
Year: 2014
Keywords: Austen
Record ID: 2027544
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10339/39400


This thesis aims to investigate the use of the classical and modern romance plots and their interactions with the social problem-novel plots in Jane Austen's <italic>Pride and Prejudice</italic> and Elizabeth Gaskell's <italic>North and South</italic>. After a discussion of classical romance conventions in the first chapter, I will employ a close reading of <italic>Pride and Prejudice</italic> to show how it both fulfills and subverts romantic conventions, arguing that Austen's unique romance structure allowed for the beginnings of social problem-novels. The second chapter will analyze <italic>North and South</italic> as a modern romance and then address the novel's romantic resolution not as a way to distract the reader from a lack of social resolution but instead to demonstrate a model for social resolution. Overall, I will argue that both works achieve their social commentary by simultaneously adhering to certain elements of the classical romance and distancing their works from others, creating the hybridization of the romance and social problem-novel plots.