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dc.contributor Gieger, Jason en
dc.contributor.advisor Toise, David en
dc.contributor.author Vroman, Anita Sue en
dc.date.accessioned 2011-05-10T18:37:17Z en
dc.date.available 2011-05-10T18:37:17Z en
dc.date.issued 2011-05-10 en
dc.date.submitted 2010-04-26 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10211.9/1097 en
dc.description Thesis (M.A., English (Literature)) -- California State University, Sacramento, 2010. en
dc.description.abstract Literary critics admire Barbara Pym’s The Sweet Dove Died; however, they often find its heroine, Leonora Eyre, as problematic in that she seems so different from those in Pym’s previous novels. Although Leonora, like many of Pym’s heroines, is a spinster, she is not Pym’s typical “excellent woman” who finds validation for her life through her support of others in the community or church. Leonora, a beautiful woman in her late forties, emphasizes perfection in her appearance and home and likes to be in control in her relationships with others. Often misunderstanding Leonora’s deeply reserved nature, readers believe her to be aloof and self-absorbed and have trouble empathizing with her character. They find Leonora to be an unlikely and unlikable heroine. Critics, in fact, usually judge Leonora as narcissistic. Unfortunately, the label of narcissist continues to haunt Leonora’s character. Readers and critics tend to accept and perpetuate this label rather than question its validity and explore the complexities of Leonora’s character or the possibility that she is more alike than different from Pym’s other heroines. Pym’s famous “rediscovery” in January 1977, when she was twice-named as one of the most underrated writers of the twentieth century after a fourteen-year period in which she could not find a publisher for her work, prompted critics to again focus on her work. Quartet in Autumn and The Sweet Dove Died, written during this fourteen-year period and published in 1977 and 1978 respectively, especially drew literary interest as Pym’s newest novels. A resurgence of interest in Pym’s entire canon followed in England, leading to the publication of Pym’s novels in the United States in the late 1970s as well. Many articles and books of literary criticism and analysis were subsequently published during the 1980s and 1990s as critics explored various aspects of Pym’s work including various analyses of Leonora’s character as the heroine of The Sweet Dove Died. This thesis relies on many of the sources published during this twenty-year period, although it also incorporates current literary criticism from the 2000s as well. By comparing Leonora with other Pym heroines with an eye toward her similarities rather than differences, this thesis finds that Leonora, like all of Pym’s heroines, incorporates certain characteristic Pym attitudes toward love, marriage, and the spinster. Leonora also has a strong tendency, like most of Pym’s heroines, to indulge in romantic fantasy, and her focus on self-validation through self-care and nurturance places her among the “elegant” rather than the “excellent” women in Pym’s canon, who validate their lives by helping others. By analyzing Leonora’s character and relationships in the novel and finding evidence of her character’s growth and development, this thesis concludes that many critics have judged Leonora too hastily and harshly by labeling her as a narcissist, further contening that Leonora is deserving of a more sympathetic reading as a true Pym heroine whose nature is significantly similar to Pym’s. en
dc.description.sponsorship English (Literature) en
dc.language.iso en_US en
dc.subject Barbara Pym en
dc.subject Twentieth century British Literature en
dc.subject Spinsters en
dc.subject Women writers en
dc.subject Isolation en
dc.title Finding richness in Barbara Pym's Leonora Eyre en
dc.type Thesis en


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