American Writers in Europe: 1850 to the Present by Ferdâ Asya (eds.)

By Ferdâ Asya (eds.)

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The Princess C—is Tetherly’s alter ego, since she, too, rejects society’s ordinary legitimizations of power and difference. Whereas Tetherly employs humorous irreverence to call into question social assumptions and expectations, and thus—as a person of modest means—challenges them from beneath, as it were, the Princess C—is very wealthy and has adopted a highly idealistic and aesthetic way of thinking that allows her to look at society from above. She is critical of “society’s wonderful slavery to habits” (99) and, like Tetherly, does not behave arrogantly.

I almost eschew company until I have completed my novel” (Letter to Robert Bonner, July 20, 1860). Unsurprisingly, the novel of which she spoke has a provocative subplot about an abandoned wife with a criminal husband. The relationship between this married couple is intended to reveal injustices that wives endured, but the question of tyranny within marriage, while itself subversive enough for 1860, can also be read within a larger political context. The next novel Southworth serialized in the London Journal, Laura Etheridge (also published under the titles Rose Elmer and The Bridal Eve), ran from May 26, 1860 to September 29, 1860.

Through characterization and rhetoric, Willis inscribes in Paul Fane natural, social, transcendent, popular, and antiauthoritarian notions of power that to varying degrees shape the struggles of domination, N at h a n i e l Pa r k e r W i l l i s’s P A U L F A N E 25 exploitation, and subjection depicted in the narrative. Paul Fane believes that he himself and the Paleford family should hold a dominant position in society since they are members of an aristocracy whose power, he presumes, is rooted in nature itself.

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