If popular culture weren't so politically powerful, we wouldn't have so much of it.
I read All the Happy Endings as part of the research for my master's thesis, and it was one of those old books that I could never find a copy of for myself. So I brazenly photocopied it. Now that I'm scanning these photocopies into PDF format, I'm taking another look at some of my notes, too.
Papashvily focuses on the "domestic novels" of the 19th century, but also on the writers and the readers. She sees enormous social and -- more important -- political impact from these seemingly harmless tales. She claims they were in essence guidelines for domestic revolution.
If indeed they were, but if their influence only went as far as a revolution confined to the private space of hearth and home, did they encourage women to become independent, or did they instead reinforce the patriarchal status quo by making women believe in an illusion of domestic - and therefore matrimonial -- power?
There has been so much talk lately about why women -- and yes specifically white women -- so often vote against their own best interests. It may in fact be that they aren't, because those women have a very different definition of their own best interests. And that definition may lie in some -- but not necessarily all -- of those happy endings.
Shelved for a re-read.