Title page for etd-0020116-141512


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URN etd-0020116-141512
Author Po-yu Wei
Author's Email Address No Public.
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Department Foreign Language and Literature
Year 2015
Semester 1
Degree Ph.D.
Type of Document
Language English
Title Jane Austen: The Moments of Vulgarity
Date of Defense 2016-01-15
Page Count 229
Keyword
  • performing arts
  • cards and gaming
  • food and dining
  • vulgarity
  • eighteenth-century English novels
  • Jane Austen
  • Abstract The eighteenth-century English novelist Jane Austen is often called an elegant author and her novels refined. However, from her contemporary critics and readers to the twentieth-century or twenty-first century readers and scholars, one can find that Jane Austen and her works are sometimes called “vulgar.” In order to see how “vulgarity” and Austen’s novels are connected, this study explores the meaning of vulgarity in eighteenth-century literature and culture. The research first examines vulgarity in philosophical contexts, conduct book literature, social theories, and history, concluding that the concept of vulgarity in eighteenth-century England is different from that in our modern time. For example, unreasonable thinking and linguistic mistakes were both considered vulgar by philosophers two hundred years ago, while in conduct book literature, the excess of emotion and the lack of manners are equally vulgar. The research next examines vulgarity in Jane Austen’s novels, finding that vulgarity in her novels appears in brief moments and are reflected in daily life activities. This research discusses three motifs: cards and gaming, performing arts, and food and dining. In these three motifs, Jane Austen’s vulgar characters, dialogues, and behaviors all follow the definition of vulgarity in the eighteenth-century English context. In cards and gaming, Austen discloses characters with different card games and explores the relationship between gaming and acting. She finds the connections between gamers and performers, and in performing arts, her targets are those who cannot wait to show off their ability to sing, play, act, and dance. In food and dining, Austen uses foods as symbols and implies characters’ personalities or the intensity of their relationships and the vulgarity of the eaters is shown in their obsessiveness with food and gluttony. The contribution this dissertation makes to Austen scholarship is that I treat vulgarity as a literary motif rather than a social or cultural phenomenon, and that I link up this literary motif and Austen’s novels. With this dissertation, I hope that the future scholars can elaborate the study of vulgarity in literature, and that they can begin the study of vulgarity in different periods of literature.
    Advisory Committee
  • Yan, Shu-chuan - chair
  • Lee, Chia-jung - co-chair
  • Li, Chi-fang - co-chair
  • Chen, Li-ching - co-chair
  • Rudolphus Teeuwen - advisor
  • Files
  • etd-0020116-141512.pdf
  • Indicate in-campus at 1 year and off-campus access at 1 year.
    Date of Submission 2016-01-21

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