By Dale M. Bauer

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For example, a "multitude of different novelistic-dialogic situations" exist between the heroine fools and others who are fixed in the dominant discourse: between, for example, Zenobia and Hollingsworth (the reformer), Zenobia and Coverdale (the poet-romancer), Maggie and the Jewish shopkeeper (the semiotician), Lily and the hat-makers (the coopted laborers), Edna and Adèle Page 13 (the perfect mother-woman): all of these situations reveal the ideological structures of language, of institutional controls and discipline.

At the point of contradiction between the alienated female voice and the interpretive community anxious to incorporate and domesticate that voice in order to silence its threat, we can trace out a feminist dialogics. Another moment in Wharton, this time in The House of Mirth (a novel I will take up in my fourth chapter), shows the difficulty women have in asserting a voice contrary to the bourgeois authoritative one which seeks to reduce all voices to the same as one of its conservative strategies.

If I read them out of chronological sequence, I do so in order to foreground the gendered narrative voices. By Page xv setting the two male writers against the two female ones, I'll explore the gendered styles which emerge through the play of voices. In the chapters on Hawthorne's and James's novels, the focus is the deployment of a narrator's relation to the author and the characters rather than a direct authorial or ideological discourse, which concerns me in my readings of Wharton and Chopin.

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