chapter  4
58 Pages

DILEMMAS OF DIFFERENCE

The fundamental resettlements of Victorian narrative-its detachment from natural explanation, its exploration of historical conventions, and its struggle to conceive society as an autonomous, inclusive, humanly constructed entity-all this necessarily produces a rethinking of the problem of difference. If there is nothing ‘natural’ about social distinctions, then what is their justification? The questioning of the ‘natural’ applies across the range of cultural distinctions, from nationality, to race and to gender difference. What is ‘the’ difference between the British and the French, between Europeans and Asians, between men and women?