人教版高中英语选修十 Unit 5 Enjoying novels Reading 阅读朗读
THE RISE OF ENGLISH AUTHORESSES IN THE 19TH CENTURY
Can you believe that there used to be a consensus in society that opposed the writing of novels by authoresses? Clearly this restriction must have operated at a time when there was no equality of opportunity for women. Perhaps you think that discrimination of this kind was in force a very long time ago because after all. it is a very old-fashioned idea. But you would be wrong. because it was a generally held view only one hundred years ago in England. Even so there is another twist to this story. In a strange contradiction, this period produced five of the most courageous and gifted authoresses. Those who got round this ban were: Jane Austen. the three Bronte sisters(Charlotte, Emily and Anne), and the writer known as George Eliot.
Jane Austen (1775-1817) was the first of these great women writers. She produced six completed novels. all of which deal with the problems and limitations of womens choices. At this time the only respectable career for a woman was to marry, so the dilemma of her heroines was also to marry but for love. Her most popular novel has always been Pride and Prejudice. In this story we follow the lives of five sisters as they overcome obstacles to their happiness and marriage until all is happily resolved. But the appeal of Janes work was not in its content alone. It was also in her refreshingly light and ironic style, evident from the first sentence of the novel:
" Everone knows that a single man with a fortune must in want of a wife."
As readers, we know that this sentence is not really true but it represents the opinions of all mothers who have daughters to marry. It is making fun of those mothers whose only wish is to marry their daughters well.
After Jane Austen authoresses found it an even more hopeless task to publish novels under their own names. So they chose to publish their works using men'smames The three Bronte sisters adopting
this practice. Mary Ann Evans did the same and wrote under the name of George Eliot. Sceptical reviewers did not see through this deception and gave their approval to their work.
Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855) was the most am of the three Bronte sisters. Her novels were revolutionary for the explicit way they described women struggling against their restricted roles in society. Her heroines are outspoken in expressing their feelings, while demonstrating honesty and conscience in their choices. Her most famous book, Jane Eyre, deseribes the growth of a poor, abused heroine with an unhappy childhood through to a mature person who finds eventual happiness after many struggles and disappointments. Being immediately hailed as "The masterwork of a great genius." Jane Eyre became a great success. The book was a revelation after the more reserved feelings expressed in Jane Austen's novels.
The fifth premier authoress of this period was George Eliot(1819-1880). Her novels examined the morally ambiguous concessions people make in their lives in order to succeed. In one of her books, Silas Marner, the hero, discovers a little girl whom he takes in to live with him. Her own father has already rejected her, because he fears he would lose his second wifes love if he acknowledges her -a mistake for which the couple both suffer.
With the 19th century being regarded as one of great women writers, there were also some excellent male authors. Among them Charles Dicken (1812-1870) stands out as a literary critic of the injustices of his society. His novels describe the hardships of poor people who did not possess money or a sponsor to smooth their path. In David Copperfield, the hero experiences suffering before he meets his eccentric, kind and tolerant aunt, Betsy Trotwood. David benefits from her truly generous nature, and owes his education, wealth and happiness to her care. Charles Dickens is today confirmed as one of the great writers of the 19th century. Although his output was greater than any of the authoresses mentioned above, his impact was not greater than theirs. These women having produced works of the highest quality. Any survey of the 19th century English literature nust include them.