Fangirl, Eliza and her Monsters and the Complexities of the Young Adult Künstlerroman in the Digital Age
- Side: 1-10
- DOI: https://doi.org/10.18261/issn.2000-7493-2021-01-04
- Publisert på Idunn: 2021-05-11
- Publisert: 2021-05-11
- Creative Commons (CC BY-NC 4.0)
This article explores how young adult artist novels respond to the current proliferation of digital media technologies. Examining two recent publications—Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (2013) and Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia (2017), this paper analyses how these novels interrogate the shifting author function against the backdrop of digitalisation, and how that shift in turn affects the representation of young peopleʼs artistic maturation. Informed by a keen awareness of the profound ways in which technological advancements reshape traditional experiences and expectations of authorship and artistic growth, these contemporary novels offer a unique prism through which to complicate the evolving genre of the Künstlerroman in adolescent literature.Keywords: Digital technology, Künstlerroman, Bildungsroman, YA literature, artistic maturation, fanfiction
Meg Cabot, a well-known American YA author, confessed in a New York Times article that if she had written her Princess Diaries books now instead of in the early 2000s, she would have had her heroine tweet or blog about her life rather than having her keep a diary (The New York Times, 2013). Cabotʼs claims reflect an increasing awareness of internet technologyʼs formative power over young peopleʼs lives, an awareness that has led to a renewed interest in how adolescent novels represent the complex transition from childhood to adulthood against the backdrop of rapid digitalisation and social media participation. As part of the emerging conversation probing the implications of youth coming of age in the digital era, this essay focuses on how two YA novels explore the figure of the artist protagonist and the process of her development (or the Künstler process) within a context informed by the latest online technologies. The article starts with an examination of the Künstlerroman concept and the previous critical conversation surrounding the representation of artists in youth novels, pointing out the significance of examining how contemporary YA artist narratives respond to—and are shaped by—the changing digital environment. The texts I use for my analysis are two American YA titles published within the last decade— Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (2013) and Eliza and her Monsters (hereafter referred to as Eliza) by Francesca Zappia (2017).
Fangirl charts the development of Cath, a popular fanfiction author, as she navigates her first two terms in college; Eliza tells the story of teenager slash online serial webcomics creator Eliza juggling her high school life and her journey as an artist. Each text can be understood as a Künstlerroman for the presentation of the self-identifying artist protagonist and her path to maturation as an author. At the same time, the novels are heavily informed by digital technology because the protagonists (predominantly) perform their authorship online. Rather than comparing and contrasting the two novels, I discuss them in terms of their similarities so as to show how YA novels collectively grapple with Web 2.0 as an emerging phenomenon that has profoundly challenged previous values of creativity, authorship and the author/artist1In this article, I use the term ‘authorʼ and ‘artistʼ interchangeably because they often share overlapping features in the Künstler narrative. However, when I adopt the term ‘authorʼ in my later discussions I am referring more specifically to the owner of a published work, while the term ‘artistʼ carries a broader definition. function (Van der Weel, 2019). In the latter part of the article, I demonstrate how each novel reformulates the trajectories for contemporary artistic development in their respective ways. In so doing, this paper aims to offer new critical perspectives on what it means to grow up as a young artist in the twenty-first century, and, by extension, what we may expect of future Künstler narratives for adolescents.
The Künstlerroman: Concept and Criticism
The Künstlerroman usually focuses on the artistic person, thus the protagonists need not only achieve the type of individual and social growth demanded of regular Bildung plots, but also arrive at a complete understanding of themselves as artists (Santos, 2017, p. 22). Indeed, crucial to any discussion of the Künstlerroman is the figure of the artist. In ‘The Philosophy of the Novel of the Artistʼ, Ernst Bloch declares that the artist figure is characterised by a pursuit for ‘that which has never yet been heardʼ (1988, p. 274). Maurice Beebe (1964) and Roberta Seret (1992) likewise indicate how the artistʼs individuality and generative ability set him apart from secular environments. The aforementioned perceptions of the artist reveal a Romantic view of the privileged artist role, whose creative genius marks him as a trailblazer and a misfit. As the Künstlerroman evolves into the twentieth century, the artist figure continues to be valued for such traits as self-reliance, originality and professional esteem, as feminist critics began interrogating the eruptive potential of female creativity and the obstacles women must overcome in order to establish a career (Davees, 1999).
Another indispensable question in the Künstlerroman is the artistʼs education and growth. In classic Künstler narratives, the protagonistʼs education often implies his/her transition from an amateur to a professional2Researchers who examine the figure of the woman artist in the female Künstlerromane often discuss how these narratives, especially those published in the nineteenth century, associate artistic ambition with the desire for a vocation, which entails the artistʼs getting published and entering into public discourse (see Duplessis, 1995, pp. 243-70). thereby achieving the recognised ‘authorʼ status, which is ‘opposed to the idea of the writer, the scribbler, the journalist or literary drudgeʼ (Bennett, 2005, p. 60). Furthermore, the notion of growth is often tied to identity formation, which requires the protagonist to accept his/her identity as an artist (Trites, 1997).
In adolescent literature, studies on the (female) artist character (see, for example, Clark 1989; Trites 1997) reflect some of the central concerns that have characterised Künstlerroman criticism in the past century, including the emphasis on the author role, the apprenticeship process that often leads up to a career, and the affirmation of oneʼs creative identity. However, previous research has not paid adequate attention to the growing significance of digital technologies in shaping cultural perceptions of the artist/author and her maturation process. Two recent studies on contemporary female Künstler narratives, namely those by Jocelyn Van Tuyl (2016) and Megan Lynn Isaac (2018), reveal interesting aspects of post-millennial models of apprenticeship in YA novels, touching upon the new realities young people face under the changing landscape of writing and publishing. Nonetheless, neither Tuyl nor Isaac has elaborated upon how these new realities relate to the problematic notions of twenty-first-century authorship, which is bound up with the impact of digital technologies. Nor have they expounded upon how digitalisation affects how we might perceive the YA artist novel genre.
As many scholars note, Young Adult Literature as a category ‘has undergone many transitions and transformationsʼ (Fitzsimmons & Wilson, 2020, p. xiii) which mirror the emerging conditions in the media landscape that affect how YA fiction is produced and consumed (Garcia, 2013). These conditions have crucial implications for the youth Künstlerroman, which must also tackle with a series of new concerns, especially the increasing ambiguities regarding the author figure and the challenges that inform her maturation. Therefore, the central questions I ask in this article are: to what extent have digital media technologies in the era of Web 2.0 reshaped the representation of the female author figure and her development process in the two YA novels? What do these changing representations mean for the YA Künstler narrative as a genre? In order to capture the interplay between the larger contextual shifts and the books I analyse, and to examine my research questions more effectively, I read my primary texts against the relevant transformations that internet technology has brought to the literary sphere. Although my study mainly features girl protagonists, I dwell more specifically on their identity as online authors rather than on their gender, which is why I choose not to contextualise my analysis against the parameters of gender, feminist and girlhood research. Instead, I draw from authorship studies, fan studies and research in digital writing to paint a clearer picture of how technology plays a part in reframing the Künstlerroman genre for young adults.
Interrogating the Author Function
Authorship studies have always been interested in exploring the relationship between technology and the author image. According to Andrew Bennett (2005), the prominence of the author in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is a result of a transition from manuscript culture to print culture. According to Bennett, print culture ‘confirm[s] individuality in its formal qualities of closure and distinctionʼ and ‘entails a new relationship between text and authorʼ (Bennett, 2005, p. 46)). Consequently, authors attained legal status and acquired independence, which in turn influenced modern conceptions of authorship (Bennett, 2005).
In the twentieth century, critics have begun questioning the authorʼs privilege in textual interpretation and manipulation (Bennett, 2005, pp. 68–9). Yet it is the rise of digital technology since the millennium that presents a real challenge to the traditional text-author-reader dynamic. Scholarly debates have also acknowledged the ways in which the expansion of the internet ushers in new landscapes under which authorship functions. In literacy studies, for instance, scholars have pointed out the expansion of digital literacy leading to an understanding of creativity as a common phenomenon, rather than an exclusive trait of Romantic authors (Pennington, 2017). Researchers of digital writing also underline how the internet has turned a reading-dominant culture into a writing-dominant one, lowering the threshold of becoming a published author. R. L. Skains, for instance, puts forward the idea of ‘the demotic authorʼ, a creator who ‘eschews the top-down communication flow of author → text → reader, in favor of publishing platforms that permit and encourage feedbacks and conversationsʼ (Skains, 2019, pp. 2–3). Furthermore, writing scholar Heather Urbanski (2010) postulates that a unique rhetorical situation of the digital media is fanfiction, which is rapidly moving from the margins to the mainstream, from subculture to culture (Coppa, 2017, p. 1). Operating across disciplinary boundaries, fan studies underline the crucial role fan works and fan authors play in digital culture. An important argument made by fan scholars is how fanfiction embodies the democratisation of creative activity and artist identities, creating spaces for participatory entertainment that open common readers/fans to the kind of authorship status described by Skains. It would seem that the rise of fandom and digital dissemination platforms have begun to complicate conceptions of authorship in young adult fiction.
In many Künstler narratives featuring adolescent girls, the young personʼs writer identity derives from an internal drive for self-expression (Trites, 1997, p. 66). Yet in Fangirl as in Eliza, both girls start out as participants in online communities: before setting out on writing fanfiction, Cath belongs to the fandom of the famous fantasy series Simon Snow, while Eliza begins as a fan-artist for her favourite book series, Children of Hypnos. In an era where information is made readily accessible and sharable, and where digital media encourages channels for participation, readers like Cath and Eliza can easily ‘assert a gesture of authorshipʼ (Healey, 2013, p. 69) by posting and disseminating content. Their transition into authorship enables us to imagine the author figure, at least partially, apart from its Romantic genealogy. Becoming an author has now become closely associated with online textual engagements, and with the consumption and appropriation of culture.
In both novels, the act of (often collaborative) appropriation is presented as an integral component of authorship—Cath co-writes Carry On, Simon with her sister Wren, while Wallace, a top fan of Elizaʼs comic, creates a written narrative to accompany her visual art. While collaborative writing or appropriation are by no means uncommon in the history of authorship (Bennett, 2005), they are nevertheless key components of the interactive rhetoric mode in a digitally saturated writing environment, not least through the prominence of ‘the fantextʼ. Collaborative in nature, fantext is characterised by intertextuality and creative indebtedness to one another (Gray, Sandvoss & Harrington, 2017), complicating ‘the regal isolation, the solitary individualism, of the Romantic authorʼ (Bennett, 2005, p. 94). It celebrates the ‘death of the authorʼ and urges us to ask the very question Barthes himself put forward in his seminal work—‘who is speaking thusʼ? (1995, p. 125)
In Fangirl, Cathʼs earlier fanfictions are signed off as ‘Magicath and Wrenegadeʼ, making it difficult to differentiate the voices of Cath and her sister. Cathʼs own fanfiction, which appropriates the content of the famous Simon Snow series, makes her a second author operating alongside Gemma T. Leslieʼs original voice. A similar pattern can be observed in Wallaceʼs retelling of Elizaʼs webcomic: as a fan of Elizaʼs work, Wallace sets out to transcribe Elizaʼs visual images into chapters. Significantly, both novels adopt a format that displays the interwoven and embedded relationship between fantext and original text—Cathʼs fanfiction and Gemma T. Leslieʼs writing appear alternately at the end of each chapter, while Elizaʼs drawings are presented alongside a written narrative to accompany her artwork, which the text suggests is penned by Wallace. Like classic artist narratives, which are typically centerd around the completion of the protagonistʼs fictitious creation (Bloch, 1988, p. 269), the novels are driven by the girlsʼ desire to finish a certain work—for Cath itʼs her creative writing assignment, and for Eliza, her webcomic. Nevertheless, the format of these novels provides rich textual spaces for the intertextual and palimpsestic mixture of fantext, co-written text and single-authored text, presenting not one, but multiple speakers. Rather than featuring writings exclusively produced by the heroine, thereby documenting the formation of a single artist-consciousness and the journey leading up to the completion of her artwork, Fangirl and Eliza employ a format that reflects the impact of digital technology on how writing is produced—when one authors something, another could provide an alternative and share that authorship instantly, to the point where it may be impossible to claim an artwork as entirely oneʼs own.
However, just as both novels nuance the independent Romantic authorship status in many classic Künstler narratives via form and content, they also point to how digital media extends the attention towards authors beyond the book, increasing the projection of authorial personae and enforcing ‘the cult of the authorʼ (Rombes, 2005). Simone Murray (2018), for instance, discusses contemporary authorship practices within what she calls ‘the digital literary sphereʼ, an umbrella term that describes the relationship between digital media and literary culture. In the digital literary sphere, Murray argues, authorial identity performance is restructured, as the proliferation of publicising channels and the increased interactivity with readers enable the construction of influential author profiles. Asserting that social media, blogs, personal sites and fansites allow authors to manage themselves as ‘a brandʼ, Murray concludes that internet technologies have boosted rather than diminished the authorʼs authority, harking back to the Romantic genius figure in the popular cultural imagination.
Murrayʼs observations demonstrate the internal paradox of digital literary communication: it both questions and enforces the importance of the author. This paradox is present in Fangirl and Eliza. In both books, the young writersʼ anonymity seemingly represents a departure from the Romantic authorship concept, but interestingly, the girls have great influence ascribed to their pseudonyms. Known as ‘the inimitable Magicathʼ (Rowell, 2013, p. 268) by her fans, Cathʼs appearance on Fanfixx.net often reminds readers of the popularity accompanying that name. When she googles ‘Magicathʼ, Cath finds it at the very top of the search results (p. 944). Similarly, at the opening of the story, Elizaʼs online author profile already has millions of comments, hits and followers (Zappia, 2017, p. 16). Her fame allows her to sell webcomic-related products such as T-shirts and earn money that greatly surpasses the amount owned by a regular teenager (p. 682). Despite their youth, Cathʼs and Elizaʼs achievements testify to their celebrity author status in which their names alone hold huge public attention and media currency, in a way that protagonists of traditional Künstlerroman often do not experience.
Revealing the tenuous boundary between authorship and appropriation while flagging out how the internet magnifies the influence of the girlsʼ author-roles, Fangirl and Eliza illuminate the increasing ambiguity attached to the author function within a digitally saturated mode of communication. In fact, the novels are haunted by a description of authorship that is participatory on the one hand and exclusive on the other, a tension that directly ties in with current technological transformations. Unlike the relatively singular Romantic author image presented in previous Künstler narratives, Cathʼs and Elizaʼs stories expose a tendency in which the contemporary YA Künstlerroman becomes a vehicle for interrogating the contradictory and complex nature of authorship in the digital era.
Reframing the Artistʼs Development
In the above section, I have argued that recent technological shifts magnify the dual nature of twenty-first century authorship, which stresses and at the same time demystifies the role of the author. But how do current expectations of authorship affect how the developmental trajectories of artist-protagonists are described? While a considerable number of YA novels continue to discuss the charactersʼ artistic maturation in terms of their transition to professionalism or their success in achieving complete artist identities, I use Fangirl and Eliza as examples in the following section to explore how digitalisation has nevertheless allowed us to conceive the fictional apprenticeship process in slightly different, more nuanced ways.
Reframing the Path to Professionalism
As Isaac notes, twenty-first-century teens are offered a much broader range of pathways to literary success (2018, p. 135). The easier access to authorship can have critical impact on how young people steer their artist careers. In Fangirl, Cathʼs fanfiction writing enables her to capture the previously distinctive author role, but it also goes against the principles of originality lauded by traditional authorship practices. While scholars tend to read fanfiction as an obstacle for the young writerʼs literary achievements (Isaac, 2018; Tuyl, 2016), I argue that Cathʼs fannish writing embodies the real struggle she is experiencing, namely, choosing the kind of ‘authorʼ she wants to become when the criterion for literary success is no longer fixed. Fan writers, as Adriaan Van der Weel and Aarthi Vadde reason, are practitioners of amateur creativity in an age where amateur and professional literary endeavours are entangled. Web 2.0 has brought forth ‘the cult of the amateurʼ and ‘hollowed outʼ many writing professions or questioned the authority of literary institutions (Van der Weel, 2019, p. 228). At the same time, though, conventional publication channels continue to represent one of the most important hallmarks of literary prestige. The rise of the amateur and the co-existence of digital and print authorship practices mean that those who start off as amateur writers online are faced with more choices than ever before: they may insist on publishing in amateur communities; they may end up pursuing conventional literary careers; or they may even morph into best-selling authors using the very materials theyʼve produced as amateurs (Vadde, 2017, p. 34). As Vadde affirms, amateur writing communities ‘are mixtures of hobbyist pleasure, professional aspiration, political conviction, and erotic attachmentʼ (p. 33).
It is possible, then, to say that fanfiction authorship is a fluid territory where possibilities of authorship branch out and a singular path to literary success is subverted. Cathʼs conflicted feelings about continuing fanfiction writing or completing the original story suggest that she is caught in the dilemma of performing authorship as an amateur or entering the conventional literary system as her writing professor advocates. Throughout Cathʼs journey, her role as a demotic author and her attempt at fulfilling her professorʼs notions of authorship are heavily intertwined, reflecting the co-existing if not contesting tensions that the digital age has placed upon the author concept. As fixed definitions of the author figure are dissolved and ways of being an author are diversified, crucial to Cathʼs maturation is finding her place within such tensions and choosing the kind of author she wants to become. When the professor accuses her of plagiarism because she submits one of her Simon Snow fanfictions, Cath realises for the first time that producing the kind of writing she is so good at bars her path towards traditional published success (Rowell, 2013, p. 264). Her later conversation with the professor shows her grappling the slippery boundaries of ‘amateurʼ or ‘professionalʼ commitments. When the professor complains that fanfiction is ‘stillbornʼ and doesnʼt lead to a career, Cath snaps back, ‘Iʼll write because I love it, the way other people knit or … or scrapbookʼ (p. 668). Towards the end of the novel, Cath finally decides to postpone fanfiction writing and work on her original fiction, a decision critics identify as a key milestone in Cathʼs maturation. But rather than ascribing the significance of Cathʼs success to her finding the ‘rightʼ genre to write in, one might also say that her triumph rests in making an independent choice about the path she should take as an author. More importantly, the fact that Cath is offered opportunities to choose testifies to the profound ways in which technology diversifies the scribbler-to-author trajectory that earlier Künstler protagonists typically go through. Choice, it now seems, has become as important as talent and effort within an artistʼs development.
Reframing the Journey Towards a Complete Artist Self
If Cathʼs journey presents adolescent artists navigating the changing expectations of authorship against the hybrid realities of todayʼs digital literary landscape, Elizaʼs experience indicates that contemporary shifts in how the author-role is maintained has made it more difficult for youngsters to achieve a stable artist identity, not least because the internet has blurred the boundaries between public (online) and private (offline) artist personas. As the digital literary sphere endows authors like Eliza huge popularity without the support of industries, it heightens, on the one hand, authorsʼ reliance on readers and, on the other, readersʼ curiosity towards authors. This reformed author-reader dynamic means that todayʼs authors must build an attractive online persona and garner attention from readers or even offer them some form of ‘equalizing and voyeuristic spectatorshipʼ (Murray, 2018, p. 51). Such changes have critical implications for teenagers, who are often portrayed as inexperienced when it comes to their investment in online identities. Shannon Hervey contends that ‘contemporary YA texts that use information technology as central plot devices depict worlds where boundaries are indeed confused and entangledʼ (2018, p. 37). Hervey cites YA texts that depict young people whose ‘networked projections of the selfʼ overlap with—or even efface—their material selves (p. 38). In a similar vein, Eliza recounts the heroineʼs cultivation of online authorial identity and what happens when that identity infringes upon her self-perception as an artist.
When she begins publishing the webcomic, Eliza feels comfortable with the online authorial persona she has constructed. Through her intriguing work, her regular updates, and her weekly appearances in chatrooms to mingle with the readers, Eliza quickly receives attention with her username— ‘LadyConstellationʼ. A key principle she relies on for her online self-building is anonymity. She reports, not without pride, that while people are curious about her personal identity, they have never gotten past her username, an upside that keeps her form ‘getting too nauseated to workʼ (Zappia, 2017, p. 36). Anonymity helps her keep her agency as an artist by allowing her to focus on her work without bearing the burden of the celebrity authorship status accorded to her online presence. With anonymity, Eliza could choose to ignore reader comments and focus on her creative urges; she could even pass off as a fan when she interacts with her readers in real life. However, when her anonymity is compromised after her parents accidently leak her true identity in the school newspaper, the weight of Elizaʼs online celebrity status starts to erode upon her faith in her own artistry. Previously, she clearly identified with her artist self: ‘This is what I was put on Earth to create, for me and for my fans. This story. This is mine, and it is my duty to bring it into the worldʼ (p. 37). But after losing her anonymity, Eliza encounters a serious writerʼs block. Whenever she thinks of drawing, she gets overwhelmed by the idea of not producing quality work and suffering from the harassment of internet masses, who could now ‘find herʼ (p. 641). As her writerʼs block worsens, Eliza conflates her failure to live up to her online fame with her failure as a person, resulting in the denial of both her online and offline artist identities.
As Murray (2018) observes, social media sites such as Twitter, Tumblr and YouTube are key sites for the construction of author identity today, especially YouTube, which encourages disclosures of personal information or experiences (Rebellino, 2020, p. 22). Amateur communities, however, offer authors high online visibility without them having to disclose personal information. Elizaʼs story, though, reveals the fragility of anonymity against the mechanisms of the internet. Just as Web 2.0 provides artistic freedom by allowing artists to hide behind a powerful online persona, it simultaneously opens up possibilities for compromising that freedom. Anonymity, it seems, doesnʼt make it any easier for todayʼs youths—real or fictional— to maintain a public authorial image and to deal with the fame and influence attached with that image. Nor does it prove to be the ultimate protection against the age-old tension, one which digital media inevitably intensifies—the tension between popularity and personal agency, between satisfying readers and fulfilling oneʼs own creative desires. The solution, according Zappia, lies in the ability to embrace oneʼs online persona without losing sight of oneʼs intrinsic artistic selves. When her true identity goes viral online, Eliza writes to her favourite author, Olivia Kane, who disappeared from public view at the height of her fame because she feared that her fans would no longer like her stories. Instead of advising Eliza to give up her online fame, as she herself did all those years ago, Kane encourages Eliza to rediscover her creativity from within rather than framing her self-perception as an author against reader expectations. At last, Eliza publishes her finished webcomic and updates her online author-profile, with her real name, location and drawing hobby included. Though the success of Elizaʼs apprenticeship directly results from the completion of her work, it is the union of her online fame and her independent artist self that signals Elizaʼs triumph in her Künstler process.
Fangirl and Eliza are examples of YA novels that indicate a new pathway through which to understand how the Künstlerroman responds to—and is shaped by—digital technologies. By reflecting how Web 2.0 reframes fictional perceptions of the author image, the novels underscore the effect of appropriation, collaboration and the democratisation of publishing on the authority of the author (Van der Weel, 2019, p. 228) while also emphasising the power of digital dissemination in increasing the influence afforded to digital performances of authorship.
The changing conceptions of ‘authorʼ and ‘authorshipʼ means that the Künstler path to literary success and to achieving oneʼs artist identity is also complicated. Cathʼs growth is not only defined by publication but by her ability to assert her position between the liminal boundaries of amateurism and professionalism; Elizaʼs maturation is achieved when she learns to juggle her online artist persona and her personal values and desires as an artist. Admittedly, both novels continue to exhibit the conventional themes of the Künstlerroman by valuing the importance of the artistʼs search for voice and identity, and by highlighting the process of constructing of oneʼs relationship with the world through art: in finishing her original story, Cath finds her own voice and achieves deeper understanding of family and romantic relationships; Eliza recuperates her creative urges after getting in touch with her inner artist self and mending her misunderstanding with Wallace and her parents. However, my analysis in this article suggests that despite continuing to embody the concerns of classic Künstler narratives, Fangirl and Eliza demonstrate how the Künstlerroman genre responds to the increasingly potent role technology plays in shaping young peopleʼs authorship practices and producing new implications for their artistic growth. Eight years and four years have passed, respectively, since their publication. What might the future hold? One might ask, for example, that if internet publishing channels continue to democratise the parameters of ‘authorshipʼ (or even that of ‘the artistʼ), will the Künstlerroman lose its relative distinctiveness in relation to the regular YA Bildungsroman? Or, if the increasing prevalence of digital media outlets intensify the potency of the online authorial persona, how will artist narratives respond to the widening gap between public online success and personal artist ideal? Will they begin to prioritise a search for popularity over the need to cultivate oneʼs inner artist self? These questions may remain some of the most pressing ones for the future YA artist novel.
The author would like to thank Dr. Joe Sutliff Sanders for his suggestions and comments on early drafts. She would also like to thank her funding bodies, Cambridge Trust and Chinese Scholarship Council for supporting her research for this article.
|1||In this article, I use the term ‘authorʼ and ‘artistʼ interchangeably because they often share overlapping features in the Künstler narrative. However, when I adopt the term ‘authorʼ in my later discussions I am referring more specifically to the owner of a published work, while the term ‘artistʼ carries a broader definition.|
|2||Researchers who examine the figure of the woman artist in the female Künstlerromane often discuss how these narratives, especially those published in the nineteenth century, associate artistic ambition with the desire for a vocation, which entails the artistʼs getting published and entering into public discourse (see Duplessis, 1995, pp. 243-70).|