Je suis plusieurs: plural subjectivities in life-writing by three francophone Russian women, 1800-1825
Murphy, Emilie (2010) Je suis plusieurs: plural subjectivities in life-writing by three francophone Russian women, 1800-1825. MA(Res) thesis, University of Nottingham.
This study examines textual representations of plural subjectivities in life-writing by three francophone Russian women in the early nineteenth century. It addresses a gap left by studies carried out on plural identities in Russian women’s life-writing composed in the long eighteenth century by its examination of the texts from a cross-cultural perspective and close focus on linguistic and cultural identity. The application of Felicity Nussbaum’s theory of gendered interdiscourses, Mikhail Mikhailovich Bakhtin’s heteroglossia, Murielle Lucie Clément’s extension of Bakhtinian heteroglossia and my modifications to her approach reveal the representation of multiple discourses of self in the life-writings as well as the literary, spoken and cultural bilingualism of the life-writers and shows them to be bicultural. Bilingualism is not limited here to national languages, but is equally applicable to the expression of different subject positions within one culture and of discourses relating to different national cultures. Chapter One focuses on multiple and contradictory gendered subjectivities, the life-writers’ (non)conformity to socially prescribed images of femininity, to which they ultimately represent themselves as bound, and the addressees’ influence on self-representation. Chapter Two explores the life-writers’ linguistic identity, whilst the third chapter examines their cultural identity. The analysis demonstrates that while multiple factors influence the life-writers’ representation of their plurality, culture is key. None of the life-writers represents herself as either exclusively French or Russian by culture, but shows that each culture has a defined place in Russian life and that they coexist in an unproblematic way.
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