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张在新

John Zaixin Zhang

 
 
 

日志

 
 

Body/Dress, Age as Performance in Moll Flanders  

2008-10-29 14:01:14|  分类: +十八世纪英国小 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Zhang, John Zaixin. Notes on Moll Flanders

3-4 dress as language as style; body as text as truth; dress/body, language/truth, appearance vs. reality – Dress (language) as ornament to beautify – A person has to be “dressed” at all times, wearing a social marker one way or another, even when stark naked (skin tone – age; skin color – race; body size – beauty, diet, class: social expectations, being written all over the body to be “seen,” to be read, like a dress; no neutral or natural body that does not carry a social code – the slippery nature of any social marker (expressed in language and clothes only): dress, cross-dressing as disguise, art of concealment; language – deception: rumors as “truth,” pp 56-60; Moll’s social status as a “gentlewoman” in the end built on her wealth from Virginia (incestuous past); when the words do match the deed, but still deceptive: elder brother’s promise, p. 33; Moll’s “truth” taken as lies, pp. 65-6. Money: relationship with banker, tour in the country pp. 105-115, etc. – slippery, though tangible and verifiable (honest money or dirty money? Wealth gives shape to social status: class, style, taste; money defines the person the way clothing does)

7 edit out the chaff together with the wheat? Tone down the elegance of the story about Virginia

12 aversion to going to service; would like to get into the chief trade of the city - work with needle; wants to be a gentlewoman – to spin – doing needle work – to live with the nurse; the equation of gentlewoman with needle work seems ironic but is actually true – clothing defines the woman

14 not their notion of a gentlewoman but work for herself, not to go to service to do housework (not a role assigned by society) - social markers to be obtained and purchased like a dress (status of gentlewoman)

15. dresses to be made and sold

16. importance of clothes as a marker

18 early education – social markers, more gifted by nature

19-20 the market against a woman – commodity; dressing the sister while elder brother dressing Moll with a social marker – beauty and courtship; beauty, breeding, character, money - all markers to define a person - money most important of all

20 younger brother – beauty counts (Robin)

20-1, 22 first kisses – coy – playing hard to get; quiet invitation to a kiss (Shamela material)

22 five guineas for kissing her

23 a handful of gold for “freedoms”

24 should have demanded more; wishing for that ruin because of vanity

26 100 guineas in case she is pregnant

26 lost virtue – no value left to recommend me; virginity, virtue; body/soul

27 rejection (of the younger brother) would apply to elder brother too (no intention to marry into the family?)

28 no marriage, OK, as long as passion and money

29 if discovered, undone forever; body ruined, no value

34 realizes she is a whore; rather be a whore to elder brother than a wife to Robin

37 Robin: beauty is a dowry, money (beauty measured as commodity, both as social markers, signifiers)

44-5 hoping parents may not give consent to marriage (to Robin)

46 500 pounds for the freedoms

49 after first marriage – a widow with both beauty and money – ideal for a man, with a whore’s beauty and a wife’s money

55-6 marriage for money – politic schemes – marriage as a business – whore (beauty), wife (money); money, like dress, is not something external to a person, it defines the person – words, dress, money define the person, sometimes inappropriate (ill-fitting), and other times slippery and unstable correspondence between words and deeds, dress and body, money and person.

56-60 revenge on men – play tricks (help the next-door neighbor) – manipulation; spreading rumors about captain to ruin his reputation – fight back by deception

61 make an obliging husband

63 a good husband – most necessary to me

65 writing to replace speaking – marking and unmarking the difference – playing her game to stop him from asking about her estate

66-7 hook him fast and play him long (planter)

72 Newgate – irony of institution – more thieves made by Newgate; two children, and big with another by her brother– no crime if not knowing; mother – production (widow for 11 years); husband/brother too honest to continue in incest (or Moll would have agreed)

73 incest (honest wife, appearance/reality)

78 every word wounds me to the soul (mother’s words)

79 mother’s advice to continue in the incest

91 Moll loves fine clothes

93 whore to the gentleman at landlady’s house

94 with child

95 in the height of her prosperity as a whore

96 prospect of poverty

97 disguises herself as a maid to go to the gentleman’s house; gentleman dying, sees the end of her prosperity

101 cheats gentleman for another 50 pounds

102 no cosmetics to make herself look younger at 42

102-3 a woman needs an adviser – man can be his own adviser – without counsel, a woman a bag of money dropped on the highway

103 goal – placed in a settled state of living; terror of approaching poverty

105 about banker: his countenance spoke it (his honesty) – dress/body, honesty written on the face

110 woman of fortune – money just a social marker (deceptive here); preserve the character of their virtue (women), even they may have sacrificed the thing itself – (virtue just another deceptive marker)

111 play the hypocrite with banker when he proposes to her – (language as an ill-fitting dress; it does not fit the person, does not match truth)

113 people in the country don’t value people by their clothes, as they do in London (dress/person’s social status) – they read plain clothing (that more or less fits Moll as a poor widow) as a signifier for Moll’s (false) identity of a wealthy widow (true representation understood as false)

114 friend (based on foolish hearsay) tells the country people Moll has 15,000 l (vs. 500 l); the Irishman (Lancashire husband, Jemy) runs in debt to put up appearances, pretending to be a fine gentleman – (estate as a social marker of status can be deceptive, ill-fitting dress)

115 my friend has represented me in colors [spreading the word about Moll’s estate] which are not my due – metaphor for dress, language, money

124 with Jemmy, she is master; use her money to mark him as dependent

125 Moll wants to take part in agricultural production in Virginia with Jemy

127 send for a midwife

128 every woman with child has a father for it; husband or not – no business of hers

130 3 bills – business; governess turns reproduction into production (Chaber)

133 get rid of babies

134 governess’s profit not from lodgers’ diet – sell female body

140 baby changes hands

150-1 necessity; give me not poverty lest I steal; natural law

151 the bundle

152 robbed a poor widow like me?

153-4 necklace

157 could work – necessity?

169 cross-dressing – against nature (crossing the boundaries of gender and age)

169-70 gender-obscure traits of a thief: dexterity and “craftsmanship”; her clothing and gender-obscure traits define her as a male thief (just like the young fellow, perhaps even more “male” in the sense that she is more street-smart and more experienced; she acts her gender as a male thief); it is dress and gender performance that define who they are and all the social expectations they have of each other

170, 171-2 “there was no Man came in there.” – words match the deed, half truth; acts her gender as a man (then socially she is a man, accepted by the man around her; the disguise prevents the young fellow from being otherwise preoccupied with the conventional expectations for an old woman); act your age (Cheryl Laz); act your sex (sex orientation as choice and performance); act your gender; gender-obscure and age-unspecific traits of a thief as performance accepted by the young fellow

171 Governess addressing Moll as cousin to stress her “old age” which, made possible by Moll’s performance – shows a great disparity between what an old woman may signify as a social marker and what she can actually do as age performance – undermines the conventional social expectations

172 disguise – wisdom of my concealment – dress/body: male disguise with female identity – challenging the idea of “narrative transvestism” (male in female “clothing” – male disguised as female) in Madeleine Kahn, Narrative Transvestism

177 act her age (in her late forties) as a youthful whore (picked up by a gentleman, who is drunk; but that makes no difference as shown later, p. 186)

178 having robbed the man and ready to jump out of the coach (act her age as a young robber)

180 Moll knows about a woman who has a sham gold watch, fake money/real gold to deceive (money as deceptive social marker)

185 first time to use makeup (to attract the gentleman Moll has robbed)

186 act her age as a young whore (when the man is not drunk)

 

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