Représentations et significations de la mode et de l’élégance dans l’univers de Jane Austen

Abstract : In spite of the numerous studies dealing with Austen, there has been no exhaustive literary work on the representation and signification of clothes that this author gives in her novels. Some articles presenting a specific piece of clothes have been published. Some thorough works sort the costumes by theme or novel, but without really analyzing the choices of the writer. This thesis combines the attires cited in Austen’s works, or that are mentioned in the dialogues, together with their analysis in order to show that the author did not choose the references to fashion in her novels at random, and to explain her choices, and what they imply. She uses dress code for her characters, and in the conversations they hold, to subtly vehicle, to her readers, her own vision and ideas about the social, historical, and ideological context in England at the turn of the nineteenth century. One would wonder if fashion for Austen is an indication of feminism or conservatism. A further investigation in a subject that is supposed to be typically feminist would make us see better into the debate.This work is based on Austen’s letters and books which are dedicated to the descriptive analysis of the clothes worn by Austen’s characters in the novels, and on works dealing with the garments of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, on sociology, and psychology of fashion, and on semiotics of fashion. This thesis also refers to the radical changes that fashion underwent at this time, and that came directly from historical and sociopolitical events that were taking place a short time before, and during, Austen’s writing years. These changes are themselves linked to literature. This work highlights the impact of clothes in Austen’s works. Finally, a study on costumes would not be complete without tackling the cinematographic representation of Austen’s world. Thus, the analysis of extracts recalling fashion or elegance is backed up with a consideration of the methodology brought by the producers to adapt the costumes of Austen’s characters to the screen
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Marianne Christophe-Bisson. Représentations et significations de la mode et de l’élégance dans l’univers de Jane Austen. Littératures. Université de Lorraine, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018LORR0247⟩. ⟨tel-02109781⟩

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