Towards a Geometry of Comfort: Harriet Martineau’s ‘I Was Outgrowing My Shell’ as Poetics of Space.

Clara Ranghetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Roots and wings form the coordinates of both Harriet Martineau’s subjectivity and writing, affecting all the choices she makes and all the reasons she gives for these choices. Inextricably bound together like the knot in a rope, her attraction to houses as signs of self must be given equal weight with the experiences of move and travel she writes of again and again. That a combination of biographical significance and environmental implication is traceable through Martineau’s awareness of her own conflict between subjection and autonomy is precisely what I explore here, starting from her first prospect of — and struggle for — reaching independence, an attempt she made only in her late youth and which gives expression not only to her own symbolic perception of self but also to that of dwelling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)951-971
Number of pages21
JournalVictorian Literature and Culture
Volume44
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Harriet Martineau, The Knoll, roots, wings, Gaston Bachelard, poetics of space, Lake District, mother-daughter relationship

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