18 July 2006

Armstrong, Nancy. Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987.

Armstrong follows Foucault in noting a change in sexuality coincidental with the rise of the bourgeois. She, however, feels that this change created a new, feminine form of power: women were responsible for ordering private life, which included everything not business or politics. Sex was not 'repressed,' but 'domesticated'; Armstrong reads the h[er]story of women(not business or politics) in novels by, for, and about women, and claims that this history of sexuality has as much relevance and influence as the more familiar patriarchal economic history. The middle-class woman, as arbiter of social standards, wielded a vast but unrecognized power.



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