By Iris Murdoch
A robust novel of a family’s look for love amid the wreckage of failed relationships An Unofficial Rose is a narrative of a father and son, either disappointed with their lives, and either in love with a person except their other halves. whereas the daddy, a widower, regrets by no means leaving his spouse for his mistress, the son seeks any chance to flee his boring marriage. Written with Murdoch’s masterful mixture of comedy and tragedy, An Unofficial Rose is a compelling tale of affection, remorse, and the complexity of human relationships.
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Extra info for An Unofficial Rose
In those cases where I have used American texts, they have been texts that could well have been written in Britain, despite minor cultural and historical differences. Of course, the mediation between the culture of anorexia and the authors whom I discuss is rarely direct. Both Christina Rossetti and Charlotte Bront¨e fasted, but for very different reasons, and, in any case, the representations of fasting in their work do not simply reﬂect their own experiences. Rather, both authors use hunger and the refusal of food for speciﬁc purposes within their texts, purposes that I explore in chapters and .
In Villette, Bront¨e depicts varying degrees of feminine abnegation by using images of starvation and the renunciation of appetite. Though she portrays the suffering of denied appetite in Lucy Snowe’s depression and mental breakdown, Bront¨e also consistently links fat to promiscuous sexuality, stupidity, and the lower classes, ﬁnally validating hunger over gluttony. Bront¨e’s novels, rather than the radical texts of protest that some critics consider them, are complicated and ambiguous novels that express the anorexic logic of Bront¨e’s culture at the same time as they depict the suffering of the hungry woman.
Although the members of most cultures have disciplined the body in one form or another, Victorian Britain represents the ﬁrst cross-class attempt to deny fat (especially the fat stomach) in the service of beauty, as corsets were no longer worn primarily by the aristocracy and the afﬂuent, but by middle- and working-class women as well. In their general addresses to readers, beauty manuals imply that a large group of women not only corseted themselves, but tight laced as Waisted women: reading Victorian slenderness well, with most manuals aiming to dissuade women from a practice widely considered harmful.