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Ordinary MasochismsAgency and Desire in Victorian and Modernist Fiction$
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Jennifer Mitchell

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780813066677

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813066677.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Quartet’s Modernist Muddles

Quartet’s Modernist Muddles

(p.123) Chapter 5 Quartet’s Modernist Muddles
Ordinary Masochisms

Jennifer Mitchell

University Press of Florida

The triangulation of masochistic desire that takes center stage in Jean Rhys’s Quartet attests to the self-aware participation of all parties involved, an overt acknowledgement of a developing collective consciousness suddenly more informed by psychoanalysis and sexology. The popularity of sexology and psychoanalysis during the 1920s allows readers to understand that seemingly helpless Marya and apparently predatory duo, the Heidlers, are all aware of masochistic possibilities and the consequences of their sexual and romantic decisions. Given narrative authority to ascribe thoughts and emotions to other characters, Marya takes such as opportunities to abuse and humiliate herself, hiding her active power under the projected opinions of others. Marya is complicit in the crafting and unfolding of her masochistic fantasies, however hurtful and upsetting they may be, ultimately exposing the surprising but telling amount of personal and narrative agency ascribed to her.

Keywords:   Quartet, Jean Rhys, sexology, psychoanalysis

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