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The Embowered Woman as Enchanting Commodity: “A Smile of Fortune” and The Rover

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Abstract

In “A Smile of Fortune” and The Rover, Conrad evokes a familiar representation of femininity that is literally as well as figuratively confined, the embowered woman. Here, the familiar figure of the professional seaman ponders a disturbing, developing attraction he has for a cloistered woman who is disempowered and degraded in the eyes of others. Both texts situate their heroines as the object of men’s appraisal, a model through which Conrad considers the intimate connection between the isolation and psychological trauma these women experience and their desirability to men. Dramatizing the disjunction between those “enchanting” illusory figures and the women they overlay allows Conrad to critique reductive codes of romance, even as he acknowledges their prevalence, and, perhaps, inevitability.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishUniversity of South AlabamaMobileUSA

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