“나는 누이로서 그를 사랑했어”: 『이블라이나』의 계급의식과 근친상간 모티프
“As a sister I loved him”: Class Consciousness and Incest Motif in Evelina

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서울대학교 인문대학 영어영문학과
영학논집 vol. 36, pp. 89-110
Frances BurneyEvelinaclass consciousnessclass identitykinshipromanceincest motif
Frances Burney’s Evelina explores the precarious class identity of its eponymous heroine through the frequent use of incest motif invoked in the romance plot. Although Evelina was born as the legitimate daughter of Sir John Belmont and his late wife, she lacks paternal protection crucial to the safe entrance into the world for a marriageable young woman as she is not “owned” by her father. Without the paternal ownership inscribed over her, Evelina’s beauty only serves to attract rakish gentlemen of London and endangers her own safety. Evelina’s ignorance of decorum in high society, which frequently embarrasses her in public, strengthens her innocent charms before her potential suitors but simultaneously endangers her claim to the noble title of Miss Belmont because it can suggest possible ill-breeding, and therefore, unsuitableness for a more elevated status. Despite her uneasy and uncertain social identity, Evelina regards herself as a member of the genteel society and attempts to put a firm demarcation between herself and her vulgar and unrefined relatives, Madam Duval and the Branghtons, by actively expressing her disgust and anger towards their behavior in her narrative. In a world where an abandoned daughter despairs of being “owned” by her high-class father and finds that her other family members are impossible to “own,” another viable option for Evelina to reclaim her class identity emerges in the form of a marriage with a desirable husband. Evelina promptly finds herself attracted to Lord Orville, the ideally noble and polite gentleman, and the strong bond between the young lovers is underscored through the striking usages of incest motif. Evelina’s quest to gain the formal and legal acknowledgment of Sir Belmont coincides with her romance with Orville, and the titles of Miss Belmont and Lady Orville go hand-in-hand in her ascent up the class system. As Orville later proclaims to consider Evelina as his beloved “sister” and acts accordingly with brotherly affection, the images of father, brother, and lover/husband eventually merges into his figure. Evelina herself often attempts to express her love for Orville in a sisterly manner, thus securing a means to avoid being seen as too forward and unladylike in their courtship, but it also puts Evelina’s relationship with her future husband precariously close to an incestuous relationship. The language of platonic sibling affection, while ensuring that the love of Evelina and Orville blooms in a successful and proper manner, introduces the disturbing allusion to sibling incest into their romantic intimacy and ultimately consummates the implicitly incestuous union by marriage. The subplot of Macartney, Evelina’ s half-brother, emphasizes the incestuous undertones in Evelina’s romance by reenacting the relationship of Miss Belmont and her brother-like lover in a twisted manner and by allowing the two Miss Belmonts to marry their brother-lovers on the same day. The subversive presence of incest motive embedded in the romance plot questions and challenges the validity of the patriarchal power structure based on kinship and class system, accentuating Burney’s penchant for social satire.
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College of Humanities (인문대학)English Language and Literature (영어영문학과)영학논집(English Studies)영학논집(English Studies) No.36 (2016)
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