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Author: Susana Onega

This is a full-length study of Jeanette Winterson's work as a whole, containing in-depth analyses of her eight novels and cross-references to her minor fictional and non-fictional works. It establishes the formal, thematic and ideological characteristics of the novels, and situates the writer within the general panorama of contemporary British fiction. Earlier critics usually approached Winterson exclusively either as a key lesbian novelist, or as a heavily experimental and ‘arty’ writer, whose works are unnecessarily difficult and meaningless. By contrast, this book provides a comprehensive, ‘vertical’ analysis of the novels. It combines the study of formal issues – such as narrative structure, point of view, perspective and the handling of narrative and story time – with the thematic analysis of character types, recurrent topoi, intertextual and generic allusions, etc., focused from various analytical perspectives: narratology, lesbian and feminist theory (especially Cixous and Kristeva), Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis, Jungian archetypal criticism, Tarot, Hermetic and Kabalistic symbolism, myth criticism, Newtonian and Post-Newtonian Physics, etc. Novels that read superficially, or appear simple and realistic, are revealed as complex linguistic artifacts with a convoluted structure and clogged with intertextual echoes of earlier writers and works. The conclusions show the inseparability of form and meaning (for example, the fact that all the novels have a spiralling structure reflects the depiction of self as fluid and of the world as a multiverse) and place Winterson within the trend of postmodernist British writers with a visionary outlook on art, such as Maureen Duffy, Marina Warner or Peter Ackroyd.

Kimberly Lamm

Writing the drives in Nancy Spero’s Codex Artaud Her letters-drawings have an address, harangue and apostrophise the passers-by violently. Hélène Cixous, ‘Spero’s Dissidences’1 It is the scale of Codex Artaud that first announces its claim to aggression. Akin to a colossal frieze, Codex Artaud consists of thirty-three large format collage panels that Spero composed to extend across and around museum or gallery walls. The extreme proportional disparities among the individual collages (some are two feet high and ten feet long and others are eleven feet high and

in Addressing the other woman
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Susana Onega

, Jordan achieved his metamorphic ‘change’ from heterosexuality to bisexuality by writing the ‘secret story’ of his life with the ‘white ink’ Hélène Cixous prescribes for écriture feminine, a type of writing specifically meant to deconstruct binary oppositions such as man/woman; self/ other; active/passive, etc., on which patriarchal ideology is based.19 Jordan’s bisexuality, then, is wholly ideological, the product of his conscious act of writing himself into existence. The same description would be applicable to the bisexuality of the nameless author-narrator in

in Jeanette Winterson
Open Access (free)
Chantal Chawaf ’s melancholic autofiction
Kathryn Robson

Chawaf ’s writing does not, then, denote a liberating fusion or interchange between self and other, writing subject and text, text and reader, that is so often associated with contemporary French women’s writing.20 Vers la lumière, which has hitherto been read almost exclusively in relation to Cixous’s work, may thus offer a different understanding of the fusion between self and other in contemporary women’s writing. In Vers la lumière, self and other merge in a crippling, inescapable living death, that offers none of the possibilities of self-reinvention and renewal

in Women’s writing in contemporary France
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Peter Barry

minutiae of personal experience. Indeed, the French theorists often deal with concerns other than literature: they write about language, representation, and psychology as such and often travel through detailed treatments of major philosophical issues of this kind before coming to the literary text itself. The major figures on this ‘French’ side of the divide are Julia Kristeva (actually Bulgarian, though regarded abroad – as she has ruefully said – as a kind of embodiment of French intellectualism), Hélène Cixous (Algerian-born), and Luce Irigaray. All three are best

in Beginning theory (fourth edition)
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Heather Walton

significance of gendered cultural forms and to accord to literature a more powerful feminine voice – which is not only that of everywoman, or those who are marginal to culture, but also an echo of the divine. Helene Cixous develops these themes further, explicitly claiming writing as a ‘divine force’ but also wrestling with the problem discussed in chapter 1 – namely how to work at writing literature with a full awareness of the challenges human suffering poses for all forms of artistic production. As Maurice Blanchot (1995) frames this question: how do we work at writing

in Literature, theology and feminism
Louise Tondeur

have been putting into practice in recent years. 19 I would like to offer yet another reading of the Eagleton quotation, as asking something more in line with the following: as a theorist, narcissistically ‘reading myself’ (to rewrite Hélène Cixous for a moment 20 ) am I more shocked by my own essentialist rendering of women in the above paragraphs, or by the UN’s assertion that while I was reading it several woman died of preventable ‘complications during pregnancy and childbirth’? This allows me to rewrite the Eagleton quotation once more

in The last taboo
Clotilde Escalle’s tales of transgression
Michael Worton

explosion of exploratory ways of saying sexuality (or, rather, sexualities) and of telling tales of selfdom. Hélène Cixous has argued that what she calls écriture féminine (feminine writing) ‘means embarking on “the passage toward more than the self, toward another than the self, toward the other”’.4 Elsewhere, she affirms that feminine writing is a ‘fidelity to what exists. To everything that exists. And fidelity is equal respect for what seems beautiful to us and what seems ugly to us’.5 Cixous’s theoretical position is clear and seductive, but it does rely on a notion of

in Women’s writing in contemporary France
Susanne Becker

artists (e.g., Moers 1978 , Gilbert and Gubar 1979 ; for an overview see Eagleton 1986 , 88–148), and the avant-garde model that celebrates differences, includes male artists (in fact, even privileges them) and rejects the perpetuation of narrative conventions (e.g., Cixous 1981 ; Kristeva 1974). Two aspects of this ongoing discussion are central to this study: the theorisation of feminine style

in Gothic Forms of Feminine Fictions
Gender and narrative in L’Hiver de beauté, Les Ports du silence and La Rage au bois dormant by Christiane Baroche
Gill Rye

   Textual mirrors and uncertain reflections: gender and narrative in L’Hiver de beauté, Les Ports du silence and La Rage au bois dormant by Christiane Baroche Un roman est un miroir qui se promène sur une grande route. (Stendhal) (A novel is a mirror travelling along a highway.) L’écriture est la possibilité même du changement, l’espace d’où peut s’élancer une pensée subversive, le mouvement avant-coureur d’une transformation des structures sociales et culturelles. (Cixous) (Writing is precisely the very possibility of change, the space that can serve as

in Women’s writing in contemporary France