By Michael Ragussis
Michael Ragussis re-reads the novelistic culture by means of arguing the acts of naming--bestowing, revealing, or incomes a reputation; casting off, hiding, or prohibiting a reputation; slandering, or retaining and serving it--lie on the heart of fictional plots from the 18th century to the current. opposed to the history of philosophic ways to naming, Acts of Naming finds the ways that platforms of naming are used to suitable characters in novels as different as Clarissa, Fanny Hill, Oliver Twist, Pierre, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Remembrance of items previous, and Lolita, and identifies unnaming and renaming because the locus of strength within the family's plot to manage the kid, and extra relatively, to rape the daughter. His research additionally treats extra works via Cooper, Bront?, Hawthorne, Eliot, Twain, Conrad, and Faulkner, extending the idea that of the naming plot to reimagine the traditions of the unconventional, evaluating American and British plots, male and female plots, inheritance and seduction plots, etc. Acts of Naming ends with a theoretical exploration of the "magical" strength of naming in several eras and in numerous, even competing, sorts of discourse.
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Extra resources for Acts of Naming: The Family Plot in Fiction
77)—precisely because the criminal world at large depends on a highly encoded and duplicitous language to which Sikes himself does not want to fall victim. Unlike Clarissa, then, Oliver Twist takes us not to the names at the moral center of society, but to an elaborate system of code names—castor, crib, fogle, Jack Ketch, prad, sort, wiper—and to the watchwords and secret signals that preserve a criminal underground. And yet it is precisely by plunging the child into the midst of such a world that Oliver Twist becomes a moral fable, as Dickens makes clear in his Preface, when he admits that he sought "among what companions I could try him best" (Ixii).
248). 102). 131). Just as Clarissa has no status for the family, she now relinquishes them by disallowing them their conventional name. " For example, when Clarissa repeats what her cousin has told her, Anna replies with a rebuke to the terms: "he declares . . 267). 404). These are the names that Clarissa and Anna give to each other, the names that allow them whatever success they achieve in living beyond the patriarchal family and the lover. In fact, it is not too much to say that Anna as friend allows a complete superseding of the male, so that the male lover, for Clarissa and Anna, becomes a supernumerary.
The trial whereby the human child is reified in order to be assigned a place begins with a characteristic double question: Mr. Grimwig asks Brownlow, "Who is he? " (88). " (103)—and asked of Pearl in The Scarlet Letter and of Tess in Tess of the d'Urbervilles. The second question undermines the first by disqualifying the person's humanity in a kind of shameful materiality, in a generic class (such as "bastard" or "whore") that runs counter to the kind of individual status that we commonly see as the ground of humanness.
Acts of Naming: The Family Plot in Fiction by Michael Ragussis