By Kent Puckett
What--other than embarrassment--could one desire to achieve from lengthy publicity to the social mistake? Why imagine a lot approximately what many would favor just to disregard? undesirable shape argues that no matter what its awkwardness, the social mistake--the blunder, the gaffe, the pretend pas-is a determine of serious significance to the nineteenth-century novel. With major new readings of a couple of nineteenth-century works--such as Eliot's Middlemarch, Flaubert's Madame Bovary, and James's The Princess Casamassima--Kent Puckett finds how the radical achieves its coherence because of minor errors that novels either characterize and make. whereas uncovering the nineteenth-century novel's chronic social and structural reliance at the non-catastrophic mistake--eating peas along with your knife, asserting the inaccurate factor, overdressing--this vigorous examine demonstrates that the novel's as soon as significant cultural authority will depend on what we would differently examine as that authority's contrary: a jittery, fearful, obsessive recognition to the error of others that's its personal type of undesirable shape. taking a look at final past the unconventional, Puckett concludes with a interpreting of Jean Renoir's vintage movie, the foundations of the sport, on the way to ponder the comparable fates of bourgeois sociability, the vintage realist novel, and the social mistake. Drawing on sociology, psychoanalysis, narrative thought, and the period's huge literature on etiquette, Puckett demonstrates that the nineteenth-century novel ironically is dependent upon undesirable shape on the way to safe its personal narrative shape. undesirable shape makes the case for the severe position that making blunders performs within the nineteenth-century novel.
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Additional resources for Bad Form: Social Mistakes and the Nineteenth-Century Novel
THE GENERAL: [very angry] Confound you, I eat rice pudding with a spoon. Now! HOTCHKISS: Oh, so do I, frequently. But there are ways of doing these things. Billiter’s way was unmistakable. In switching out the familiar “eating peas with your knife” in favor of the more ridiculous because more obviously benign “eating rice pudding with your spoon,” Shaw points both to the fact that it is the snob’s insight about modernity that one tautologically asserted minor diﬀerence is as good as another and to the logic of substitution and repetition native to etiquette that I have been describing.
Hotchkiss, a self-proclaimed snob, explains how he understood that another man was not a gentleman: THE GENERAL: And pray, sir, on what ground do you dare allege that Major Billiter is not a gentleman? HOTCHKISS: By an infallible sign: one of those triﬂes that stamp a man. He eats rice pudding with a spoon. THE GENERAL: [very angry] Confound you, I eat rice pudding with a spoon. Now! HOTCHKISS: Oh, so do I, frequently. But there are ways of doing these things. Billiter’s way was unmistakable. In switching out the familiar “eating peas with your knife” in favor of the more ridiculous because more obviously benign “eating rice pudding with your spoon,” Shaw points both to the fact that it is the snob’s insight about modernity that one tautologically asserted minor diﬀerence is as good as another and to the logic of substitution and repetition native to etiquette that I have been describing.
Etiquette for the Ladies: Eighty Maxims on Dress, Manners, and Accomplishments (London: David Bogue, 1846), 11. ” And L’Abbe Th. G. Rouleau in his Manuel des Biénseances: A l’usage des candidates aux brevets d’école primaire (Quebec: Dussault Proulx, 1897) writes that “il est tout à fait impoli de porter son couteau à la bouche” (54). 46. Bertrand Russell, Power: A New Social Analysis (London: Routledge, 2004), 221. 47. George Bernard Shaw, who must have had The Book of Snobs in mind, brings out the arbitrary force of etiquette in Getting Married (1908).