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    Title: Nanda “Sits Downstairs”: Discourse Network and the Representation of Sexuality in Henry James’s The Awkward Age
    Authors: 王俊三;Wang, Chun-San
    Contributors: 外國語文學系
    Keywords: Henry James;The Awkward Age;sexuality;discourse network;exchange;censorship
    Date: 2013-06
    Issue Date: 2013-07-11 13:52:52 (UTC+8)
    Abstract: In Henry James’s The Awkward Age (1899), the exposure of Nanda Brookenham,
    the heroine of the novel, to the licentious talk of her mother’s coterie of friends
    furnishes both the thematic germ and the narrative method for the novel. In that
    Nanda’s virginal innocence is irredeemably compromised by the conversational
    freedom of the adults around her, James’s scenic method of “organic and dramatic
    dialogue” not only represents but enacts Nanda’s exposure to the stigmatized
    knowledge about sexuality. Viewed from this interpretive perspective, Nanda’s
    sexuality is not an inborn quality, but something created or even fabricated by the
    interrelations of the discourse network comprised mainly by the free talk in the
    London salon. The main purpose of this study is then to examine how this discourse
    network works to inscribe itself on the female body and to incorporate it into the salon
    exchange. Moreover, as the verbal exchange in the novel is structured and regulated
    by sexual and economic exchange, the various configurations of relationships among
    them will also be explored. As implied by the complicity between thematic substance
    and compositional strategy, the “Awkward” in the title of the novel does not merely
    show the awkwardness produced by the adolescent daughter’s coming of age and her
    “sitting downstairs”: It also connotes the awkwardness closely related to the
    representation of the sexual in general. Consequently, this latter awkwardness will
    also be addressed in relation to social decorum and censorship, as well as to the more
    general issue of representing the sexual in the novel.
    Relation: Intergrams: Studies in Languages and Literatures,13(2):1-25.
    Appears in Collections:[Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures] Journal Article

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