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The Living Mirror

The Representation of Doubling Identities in the British and Polish Women’s Literature (1846–1938)


Klara Naszkowska

This book identifies a corpus of British and Polish texts that share correspondences with reference to the themes of feminine doubling, the difficulty of asserting feminine subjectivity, sexual mother-figures and symbolic father-figures. It draws on the Freudo-Lacanian psychoanalysis and the French feminist uses of it known as écriture féminine – the theories of Luce Irigaray and Hélène Cixous. It also introduces the theories of the forgotten Russian-Jewish psychoanalyst, Sabina Spielrein. The first part of the book takes account of specifics of Polish culture and history that made women writers marginalised within this context. In the second part, it closely and comparatively examines the selected British and Polish texts, while giving voice to the unknown, stereotyped, or forgotten Polish works. The innovative features of the book include its comparative character and the implementation of various psychoanalytical approaches to the Polish texts.
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Chapter VI: The Role of Fathers


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Chapter VI

The Role of Fathers

1. Fear of Feminine Sexuality

One of the presuppositions underlying this book can be formulated in the following way: in the texts analysed the mother–figures are involved in a conflict with the father–figures, and this conflict oscillates around the problem of feminine sexuality. Let us begin with an interrogation of the theme in Jane Eye and Rebecca. On the one hand, Edward Rochester wants Jane to become his second wife, because she is Bertha Mason’s polar opposite. He is not interested in the flirtatious Blanche Ingram. He ties his first wife with a cord and compares her with the protagonist:

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