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Degrees of Intimacy: Cousin Marriage and the Nineteenth Century Novel
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By Durey, Jill Felicity
ISBN 1846220459
Paperback  296 pages
Published 1 September 2014
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A wide-ranging account of the subtle changes in the portrayal of cousin marriage in 19th Century English Literature, from the early period – in which it was a common practice in the West – through to the century’s end, by which time it was condemned by scientists, including Darwin, and the community at large. The book’s chronological approach takes into account the key biographical facts of the novelists under scrutiny, most of whom are known for their realistic engagement with world issues. It also examines the plots, themes and characters of many novels, rather than concentrating on close readings of a few works. In a final brief foray into the present, the author emphasises the relevance of ‘humanistic studies’ to our lives and attitudes today. Both well-known novelists (Austen, the Brontes, Wilkie Collins, Conrad, Hardy and Trollope among them) and lesser known writers feature; there is a full Bibliography, an Index of Fictional Characters and Place Names, and a general Index.

Jill Felicity Durey is an Associate Professor in English and Writing at Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia. Her previous publications include Realism and Narrative Modality: The Hero and Heroine in Eliot, Tolstoy and Flaubert (1993), and Trollope and the Church of England (2002).

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