metonymy

I’m quite excited! I haven’t read this entire article yet, but Linda Shires uses the concept of metonymy in the first paragraph of her paper, ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING: CROSS-DWELLING AND THE REWORKING OF FEMALE POETIC AUTHORITY. Get the pdf.
She’s done work in cultural studies too. (There’s a paper listed here with a title about “falling ass-backwards” into something. Which is a familiar learning mode for yours truly. !!)


This excerpt is from a summary of writing on EBB by Marjorie Stone:
“Like Kenyon Jones, Linda Shires reframes issues of poetic identity in conceptually stimulating ways in “Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Cross-Dwelling and the Reworking of Female Poetic Authority” (VLC 30 [2001]: 326-343). Exploring EBB’s negotiation of female poetic identity “through a wide set of public discourses,” including those associated with genre, professionalism, gender, and marketing (p. 326), Shires argues that she reworked female poetic authority through her “ability to live in incommensurate identities”: an ability described as “cross-dwelling” in the theory of Charles Spinosa and Hubert Dreyfus (p. 331). As Shires observes, “The theoretical model of cross-dwelling works well with the semiotic model of authorship as a signifying system in culture which can be read like a language.” “Barrettt Browning, who carefully studied fame, literary celebrity, and types of success, as if they were another language, like Greek or Hebrew, monitored and managed her career,” but her reception history demonstrates the difficulties of accommodating “cross-dwelling [End Page 297] in contradictory social positions.” In addition, “the intersection in one person . . . of competing models of intelligibility” helps to account “not only for a particular kind of fame and the decline of a reputation, but also for a reaccenting and reworking of a cultural position that could then be embodied differently by later women poets” (pp. 332-333). Shires opens with an incisive analysis of EBB’s barbed exchange with Thackeray concerning his censoring of “Lord Walter’s Wife,” showing how the exchange and the poem reveal her capacity to “cross-dwell in a world of poetry as a social critic of traditional forms of domesticity” (p. 331) and in the private sphere as “Browning’s wife and Peniny’s mother,” to use Thackeray’s loaded terms (p. 329). She also considers the Victorian reception of “The Cry of the Children” and the “collisions of discourses and intertexts” contributing to the layered ironies of “The Romaunt of the Page” (p. 340). One of the most original aspects of Shires’ work is her challenging of the linear, diachronic narratives so prevalent in recent feminist studies of EBB (Helen Cooper’s, Dorothy Mermin’s, Angela Leighton’s, Deirdre David’s, and my own). Noting that these narratives tend to turn on the extent to which EBB did or did not develop a female-centered poetics and that they remain “unintegrated” (p. 337), Shires emphasizes instead EBB’s “co-dwelling in femininity and masculinity” and the “‘many-sidedness'” that Christina Rossetti saluted in her (p. 341).”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *