Despite the last decade's preoccupations with the pleasure of the text and sexual difference, few of the theories that have addressed the relation of narrative and pleasure have raised the issue of the difference between women's and men's reading pleasures. An oedipal model of narrative whose ideology of representation is derived from male sexuality not only places the female reader in the position of reading from a male point of view but also distorts our expectations for narratives written by women. Reconceiving such issues as incipience, repetition, and closure in terms of an experience of the female body helps to explain a “problematic” narrative such as Frankenstein. George Eliot's Romola thematizes and thereby discredits the oedipal struggle that structures it. Both strategies remind us that the oedipal paradigm's claim to universality depends on its either “forgetting” or actively discrediting issues that would expose its arbitrariness and mitigate its pleasures.