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Growing up fullers father taught her such subjects

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Unformatted text preview: r as asking readers to “project the tragedy of a gifted woman artist allegorically onto a geographically whole but, as yet, politically fragmented nation,” thus tying in both a historical and political aspect of Italian fiction writing (3). The intertwining of politics and aesthetics come to fruition as one of Fuller’s protagonists, Corinne, reflects critically on northern culture and society due to her unique position of being subject to repressive British upbringing by her Anglo ­Italian parentage. With this example, the reader gains a glimpse into the effect of cultural differences. A place of transformation and enchantment, Italy is a setting in which British and American artists and writers challenge the idea of a “monolithic” country, as Italy has a rich history of political and cultural division. Chapman and Stabler describe this juxtaposition of renaissance and decay, noting, “Italy is a set of paradoxes, most notably an aesthetic place and a home for the expatriate and exile, but also a place of political turmoil and homelessness” (13). This perspective encourages students to not characterize Italy, and specifically, Florence, simply on its artistic merits, but rather, re ­examine the “Italy myth” and understand its historical and modern challenges. J e s t e r | 8 6. “Classical Daughters: Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Margaret Fuller” – Isobel Hurst “If women could write on behalf of Italy’s liberation from foreign oppression, they might also liberate themselves from an apolitical, purely domestic existence.” (Hurst, 466) In her article, Isobel Hurst provides an enlightening look into the lives, careers, writings, and impact of nineteenth ­century female authors Elizabeth Barrett Browning. She argues, “Their writings and their public personas were central to a transatlantic conversation on the intellectual abilities of women and their relationship to literature in history” (448). Just as James’s characters undergo transformations while abroad, so do these writers when their educated pasts confront present cultural realities. Growing up, Fuller’s father taught her such subjects and encouraged her to identify with the “masculine” Roman values and republican ideology of liberty and civic virtue commonly found throughout American culture at the time. Her extensive education in the Latin and Greek classics, then regarded as masculine subjects, resulted in an “enforced and painful alienation from American models of femininity, which seemed particularly rigid to foreign observers” (449). However, in Italy, she found freedom in “evading gendered restrictions and...
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