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Title: The Shadow of Jocasta: Margaret Stevenson & Son
Contributor(s): Sandison, Alan George (author)
Publication Date: 2007
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Abstract: The last quarter-century has seen an extraordinary reawakening of interest in the life and work of Robert Louis Stevenson, 'vide' some half dozen biographies and a plethora of critical analyses. That so many biographers have found him irresistible is not particularly surprising: he was possessed of a remarkably vivid personality which, as his admired Walt Whitman said of himself, "contained multitudes". There is, too, a tantalising elusiveness about this figure who, intellectually and physically was one of nature's nomads. Aesthetically his hunger to explore 'terrae incognitae' and his readiness to abandon the land of his literary forefathers, made him something of a Modernist 'avant la lettre'. But a seminal influence on all his writing was his claustrophobic relationship with his parents. I have written elsewhere of Stevenson's frequently tempestuous relations with his father which coloured practically everything he wrote, but have come to feel in the intervening years since the publication of 'Robert Louis Stevenson and the Appearance of Modernism', that I paid too little attention to the importance of his relations with his mother; and this despite my quoting Michael Levenson who tells us in 'A Genealogy of Modernism' that gaining freedom from the mother is the real problem for the Modernists, given that the mother stands for continuity which the Modernist seeks to rupture. Moreover, the mother "has become for Modernism the voice of submission to that which is convnventionally social, to the larger general processes of life, foremost among which, for her, is the procreative".
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: RSV: Rivista di Studi Vittoriani, v.20, p. 31-54
Publisher: Edizioni Tracce
Place of Publication: Italy
ISSN: 1128-2290
Field of Research (FOR): 200503 British and Irish Literature
HERDC Category Description: C2 Non-Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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