The Untold Want of Now, Voyager

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


"Oh, Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars." These emotionally extravagant words bring to a close one of the most romantic melodramas in American film. This essay explores what it means to speak of love in such elevated terms, especially what it means for the film's heroine, Charlotte Vale (a fearless Bette Davis), a young woman whose dream of love has been blighted by the blind, repressive dictates of her demon mother. Charlotte's liberation is figured and experienced as a metamorphosis that makes her appear a Stranger both to others and to herself. Does Charlotte's vision of love represent a sublime idea or the late-flowering dream of the "sentimental old fool" who earlier had shed tears of gratitude because a man had called her darling? Now, Voyager explores both these possibilities and finds them compatible, even necessary for each other.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationUnderstanding Love
Subtitle of host publicationPhilosophy, Film, and Fiction
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199350452
ISBN (Print)9780195384512
StatePublished - Jan 23 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


  • Bette Davis
  • Demon mother
  • Now
  • Romantic melodrama
  • Sentimental old fool
  • Stranger
  • Voyager


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