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After Intimacy

The Culture of Divorce in the West since 1789


Karl Leydecker and Nicholas White

Divorce is a conspicuous character trait of modernity, commonly portrayed in texts and on screen, with its moral and social rationalisation firmly rooted in Enlightenment and Romantic thought. The aim of this volume is to bring into focus this contemporary cultural fascination by assembling the variety of academic responses it has started to create. Bringing together the reflections of scholars from the UK and North America who have worked in this domain, this study offers for the first time a genuinely wide-ranging account of the depiction of divorce across the northern hemisphere in a number of media (fiction, journalism, film and television). It reaches historically from the intellectual and legal aftermath of the Enlightenment right up to the present day. As such, the collection shows both the roots of this apparently contemporary phenomenon in nineteenth-century literary practice and the very particular ways in which divorce characterises the different narrative media of modernity.
Contents: Nicholas White/Karl Leydecker: Introduction: After Intimacy – Karl Leydecker: Divorcing Women: Divorce and the Rise of the Women’s Novel in Germany, 1784-1848 – Barbara Leckie: ‘One of the Greatest Social Revolutions of Our Time’: The Matrimonial Causes Act, Divorce Court Journalism, and the Victorian Novel – Nicholas White: Parallel Lives and Novel Series: French Women’s Writing on Divorce from the Second Empire to the First World War – Janet Garton: After the Door Slams: The Depiction of Divorce in Nineteenth-Century Scandinavia – Anne Humpherys: The Three of Them: The Scene of ‘Divorce’ in Nineteenth-Century English Fiction – Debra Ann MacComb: Is Nothing Sacred? Dissolving Bo(u)nds in American Divorce Fiction, 1880-1920 – Helena Goscilo: From Stigma to Enigma: Adultery, Triangulation, and Divorce à la Russe – Page Dougherty Delano: After Cavell: Continual Ban, Continual Divorce in American Films, 1939-61 – Lynne Pearce: After the Twilight: Intimacy and its Demise in Late Twentieth-Century Lesbian Romance – Traci Pipkins: Numbed Suburban Lifestyles Versus Gluttonous Self-Love: Woody Allen, Marriage, and Divorce – Janet McCabe/Kim Akass: Married to the Mob: Separation and Divorce in The Sopranos.