Date

2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Department

English

First Adviser

Dolan, Beth

Abstract

This paper calls attention to the importance of the friendship bond in Mary Hays's Memoirs of Emma Courtney. I particularly isolate male-female friendships, claiming that Hays's reformative project is aimed at changing men's behavior and adapting masculinity to be receptive to the idea of women as full subjects. Building on Jessica Benjamin's work on mutual recognition, I argue that Emma desires relationships with men based on the delicate balance of assertion and recognition, alluding repeatedly to “the value and importance of unequivocal sincerity” in progressive gender relations. Analyzing her varied relationships with three men, I argue that Emma isolates friendship as an important foundation for male-female relationships, contrasting with the limited and heteronormative ways that the men value her in return.

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