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The Erotic Economy of Ellen Glasgow's Barren Ground : How Success Almost Spoiled Dorinda Oakley

The Erotic Economy of Ellen Glasgow's Barren Ground : How Success Almost Spoiled Dorinda Oakley The Erotic Economy of Ellen Glasgow's Barren Ground: How Success Almost Spoiled Dorinda Oakley by Dianne Bunch Although Barren Ground is Ellen Glasgow's most critically acclaimed novel, less attention has been paid to the novel's overall meaning than to Glasgow's poignant portrayal of her protagonist, Dorinda Oakley. In his biography of Ellen Glasgow, E. Stanley Godbold concludes that "Dorinda Oakley could have been created only by an embittered and cynical woman" and that "more than any other character in her novels, Dorinda Oakley is Ellen Glasgow" (137). These provocative statements dare us to take a closer look at Glasgow's novel Barren Ground in order to decide for ourselves just what Glasgow's character actually shares with her creator. In Glasgow's somewhat enigmatic 1933 preface to the Old Dominion edition of Barren Ground, she does sympathize with Dorinda's dilemma; however, I believe that she also establishes a clear demarcation between author and character, saying, "Though I wrote always toward an end that I saw . . . Dorinda was free" (viii ). Moreover, when Glasgow states that Dorinda "exists wherever a human being has learned to live without joy, wherever the spirit of fortitude has triumphed over the sense of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

The Erotic Economy of Ellen Glasgow's Barren Ground : How Success Almost Spoiled Dorinda Oakley

The Southern Literary Journal , Volume 34 (1) – Dec 1, 2001

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2001 Department of English of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
ISSN
1534-1461
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The Erotic Economy of Ellen Glasgow's Barren Ground: How Success Almost Spoiled Dorinda Oakley by Dianne Bunch Although Barren Ground is Ellen Glasgow's most critically acclaimed novel, less attention has been paid to the novel's overall meaning than to Glasgow's poignant portrayal of her protagonist, Dorinda Oakley. In his biography of Ellen Glasgow, E. Stanley Godbold concludes that "Dorinda Oakley could have been created only by an embittered and cynical woman" and that "more than any other character in her novels, Dorinda Oakley is Ellen Glasgow" (137). These provocative statements dare us to take a closer look at Glasgow's novel Barren Ground in order to decide for ourselves just what Glasgow's character actually shares with her creator. In Glasgow's somewhat enigmatic 1933 preface to the Old Dominion edition of Barren Ground, she does sympathize with Dorinda's dilemma; however, I believe that she also establishes a clear demarcation between author and character, saying, "Though I wrote always toward an end that I saw . . . Dorinda was free" (viii ). Moreover, when Glasgow states that Dorinda "exists wherever a human being has learned to live without joy, wherever the spirit of fortitude has triumphed over the sense of

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Dec 1, 2001

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