Ambiguous Discourse: Feminist Narratology and British Women by Kathy Mezei

By Kathy Mezei

Rigorously melding conception with shut readings of texts, the participants to Ambiguous Discourse discover the function of gender within the fight for narrative keep watch over of particular works by means of British writers Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, Anita Brookner, Angela Carter, Jeanette Winterson, and Mina Loy. This choice of twelve essays is the 1st ebook dedicated to feminist narratology--the mix of feminist thought with the learn of the constructions that underpin all narratives. until eventually lately, narratology has resisted the advances of feminism partly, as a few participants argue, simply because thought has replicated earlier assumptions of male authority and standpoint in narrative. Feminist narratology, although, contextualizes the cultural structures of gender inside its examine of narrative concepts. 9 of those essays are unique, and 3 were revised for ebook during this quantity. The individuals are Melba Cuddy-Keane, Denise Delorey, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Susan Stanford Friedman, Janet Giltrow, Linda Hutcheon, Susan S. Lanser, Alison Lee, Patricia Matson, Kathy Mezei, Christine Roulston, and Robyn Warhol.

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Throughout much of Persuasion, the heroine's body must necessarily be a body in pain.  But the passage also suggests that "tenderness" is the exclusive right of the slender, virginal, relatively youthful female body, inappropriate to the body of the sexually experienced mother.  The shift in narrative attitude toward the emotional mother's body indicates a development in Anne's own increasing comfort with female bodily experience, suggesting that maternity, tenderness, and physicality can come together in Anne's own experience of marriage after the novel's end.

I am using these terms in the sense originated by Gérard Genette; see Prince for brief and lucid definitions.  While this holds true for Emma, the subject of McGowan's analysis, Persuasion suggests a move on Austen's part toward assigning more power to the heroine who can see and read the hero's passion.  Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976.  and Penguin, 1972. 3 (1990): 303­13.  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978. 1 (1989): 24­43.  Robert W.  97­115. 4 (1989): 20­23.  New York: Columbia University Press, 1988.

Ultimately, though, Anne's enjoyment of visceral experience returns, along with her bloom, to make Persuasion end as a celebration of life in the female body.  I think this rendition somewhat romanticizes the text's account of the heroine's physical experience.  The result is an almost violent narrative impulse against the heroine's body, inevitable within the novel's structure of discourse.  .  Love quite literally hurts in Persuasion, and if the female body is the vehicle and object of the empowering language of looking, it is also the site of much discomfort.

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