Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel” as Want to Read:
Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  143 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Desire and Domestic Fiction argues that far from being removed from historical events, novels by writers from Richardson to Woolf were themselves agents of the rise of the middle class. Drawing on texts that range from 18th-century female conduct books and contract theory to modern psychoanalytic case histories and theories of reading, Armstrong shows that the emergence of ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 22nd 1990 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1987)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Desire and Domestic Fiction, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Desire and Domestic Fiction

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Rochelle
Jan 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: readforschool
Armstrong argues that sexual perversion in domestic spaces in Victorian novels reflects the political upheaval and social unrest of the period. The transformation of the political/social into the sexual is a universalizing gesture. She uses Foucault to argue for the socially constructed nature of desire.
Hannah
Read this for prelims. I feel weird leaving star ratings for criticism, but for what it is worth, this one was very readable and interesting. Again, you know if you're the kind of reader who enjoys or wants to read literary criticism.
sdw
Nov 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
Desire and Domestic Fiction assigns a lot of historical agency to 19th century domestic fiction, and especially to the women who wrote such novels, and the female subjects at the center of those novels. Armstrong argues that these novels produced the modern subject and produced that subject as specifically female. As she asserts, “writing for and about the female introduced a whole new vocabulary for social relations” (4). The novels (starting with Richardson’s Pamela), which drew first on cond ...more
Erica
Armstrong argues that the middle class domestic WOMAN is the INDIVIDUAL par excellence of the 18c and 19c--the domestic woman is the individual that Watt argues that the novel creates. She looks at conduct books and domestic fiction for how these discourses form GENDER and SEXUAL IDENTITY as the identity categories that "matter most"--building off of Foucault and his argument that the 18c and 19c see a sexual revolution in cultural monitoring/policing of sexual behavior. Although Armstrong's arg ...more
Lady Dixie
From the back cover:
"In this strinkingly original treatment of the rise of the novel, Nancy Armstrong argues that the novels and nonfiction written by and for women in 18th- and 19th-century England paved the way for the rise of the modern English middle class. Examining the works of such novelists as Samuel Richardson, Jane Austen, and the Brontes, she reveals the ways in which these authors rewrote the domestic practices and sexual relations of the past to produce the historical conditions mak
...more
Victoria
This book confused and frustrated me enormously. What, exactly, is "domestic fiction"? It is never clearly defined, but the term is used from the opening sentence as though it were already understood by the reader. Armstrong's writing took a great deal of effort to read and follow, and her arguments often didn't make sense to me.
Molly
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This is probably my favorite academic book and has really clarified a lot of my thinking about my thesis project. So interesting that I ended up reading pretty much every word. I even ended up telling Vincent about it because I was reminded of his work on the Supreme Court and its influence on language. Also: more justification for not underestimating the Brontës.
Jessica
Jul 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a great look at historical novels, particulary from the 18th and 19th centuries in England, and the implications of how they both reflected and created women's roles in the home and in society. It also addresses acceptable expressions and conceptions of desire. It's much more interesting than my blurb right here sounds.
Sue Davis
Mar 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Ian Watt argued that it was the rise of the middle class with its emphasis on individualism that made the novel possible. Armstrong makes the case that the novel provided an impetus for the rise of the middle class.
Alexis
Mar 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Another great text for examining gender roles, identity and politics in Victorian England.
Anne
rated it really liked it
Aug 30, 2013
M.
rated it really liked it
Jul 12, 2011
Stephen
rated it really liked it
Nov 14, 2012
Rachel
rated it liked it
May 11, 2014
Erica
rated it really liked it
Feb 09, 2016
Jennifer
rated it really liked it
Mar 24, 2008
Andrea
rated it really liked it
Apr 21, 2014
Lise
rated it it was amazing
Jun 06, 2015
Moi-rrrrra
rated it it was amazing
Feb 15, 2014
Panteha
rated it it was ok
Jan 21, 2008
Simon Workman
rated it really liked it
Dec 03, 2015
Michael
rated it it was amazing
Jun 02, 2017
Jessica Healy
rated it really liked it
Oct 15, 2011
Cristy
rated it really liked it
Mar 07, 2015
CHRISTOPHER T SORRENTINO
rated it it was amazing
Oct 19, 2016
Bridget
rated it really liked it
Dec 14, 2015
Erika
rated it really liked it
May 22, 2017
Tom
rated it really liked it
Jan 29, 2010
M
rated it liked it
Oct 17, 2014
Heather
rated it it was amazing
May 13, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Rise of the Novel
  • Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire
  • The Country and the City
  • A Literature of Their Own: British Women Novelists From Brontë to Lessing
  • American Renaissance: Art and Expression in the Age of Emerson and Whitman
  • Disorderly Conduct: Visions of Gender in Victorian America
  • The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination
  • Love and Death in the American Novel
  • The Women Who Knew Too Much: Hitchcock and Feminist Theory
  • Victorian People and Ideas
  • Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England
  • Atlas of the European Novel: 1800-1900
  • The Historical Novel
  • The Order of Books: Readers, Authors, and Libraries in Europe Between the 14th and 18th Centuries
  • Reading for the Plot: Design and Intention in Narrative
  • Narrative Discourse
  • Jane Austen: Women, Politics, and the Novel
  • Marxism and Literary Criticism