This book provides a lucid, wide-ranging and up-to-date critical introduction to the writings of Hélène Cixous (1937–). Cixous is often considered ‘difficult’. Moreover she is extraordinarily prolific, having published dozens of books, essays, plays and other texts. Royle avoids any pretence of a comprehensive survey, instead offering a rich and diverse sampling. At once expository and playful, original and funny, this micrological approach enables a new critical understanding and appreciation of Cixous’s writing. If there is complexity in her work, Royle suggests, there is also uncanny simplicity and great pleasure. The book focuses on key motifs such as dreams, the supernatural, literature, psychoanalysis, creative writing, realism, sexual differences, laughter, secrets, the ‘Mother unconscious’, drawing, painting, autobiography as ‘double life writing’, unidentifiable literary objects (ULOs), telephones, non-human animals, telepathy and the ‘art of cutting’. Particular stress is given to Cixous’s work in relation to Sigmund Freud and Jacques Derrida, as well as to her importance in the context of ‘English literature’. There are close readings of Shakespeare, Emily Brontë, P. B. Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Lewis Carroll, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, for example, alongside in-depth explorations of her own writings, from Inside (1969) and ‘The Laugh of the Medusa’ (1975) up to the present. Royle’s book will be of particular interest to students and academics coming to Cixous’s work for the first time, but it will also appeal to readers interested in contemporary literature, creative writing, life writing, narrative theory, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, feminism, queer theory, ecology, drawing and painting.
Since the publication of The Woman Warrior in 1976, Maxine Hong Kingston has gained a reputation as one of the most popular—and controversial—writers in the Asian American literary tradition. This book traces her development as a writer and cultural activist through both ethnic and feminist discourses, investigating her novels, occasional writings, and her two-book ‘life-writing project’. The publication of The Woman Warrior not only propelled Kingston into the mainstream literary limelight, but also precipitated a vicious and ongoing controversy in Asian American letters over the authenticity—or fakery—of her cultural references. This book traces the debates through the appearance of China Men (1981), as well as the novel Tripmaster Monkey (1989) and her most recent work The Fifth Book of Peace.
What can I say?: secrets in fiction
Hermione Lee interviews Alan Hollinghurst
This conversation between Hermione Lee and Alan Hollinghurst took
place on 8 February 2012 at the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing at Wolfson
College, Oxford. It was part of the Weinrebe Lectures, an annual lecture
series at the Life-Writing Centre. Since the year’s theme was the connections
between fiction and auto/biography, a conversation between a novelist and
a biographer seemed an appropriate format.
Hermione Lee: Alan Hollinghurst is one of our most daring
, chronology, criticism, dialogue, dictionary, essay, exam, guide, and manifesto. Flaubert’s Parrot is a novel at one remove: partly a novel about a novelist, partly a novel about a man obsessed with a novelist, and partly a novel about the business of novel-writing. It is also a strange kind of life-writing about the real Gustave Flaubert, a portrait of whose life becomes ever more complex as the identification of his parrot becomes more complicated, and the fictional Geoffrey Braithwaite, whose life-story slowly emerges in glimpses, but in a way that leaves the reader
Charting the path from the ‘silent country’ to the séance
commemoration prior to the publication of Gaskell’s Life. Writing
commemorative poetry about dead authors, their final resting places
and afterlives, was an established practice in nineteenth-century literary
culture. However, as Samantha Matthews observes, the reading public’s
appetite for poetical remains (which included both the unpublished fragments of the poet’s corpus and the biographies and poems written to
commemorate him or her) hinged on a sense of personal connection, ‘of
participating, even in a diminished form, in a common emotional culture
The purpose of this chapter is to
demonstrate the extent of women’s involvement in a theatre of the
Second World War, the Battle of the Atlantic, which in the popular
memory is an entirely masculine affair. It also aims to show the
diversity of contemporary and life- writing texts produced for women,
about women and by women in relation to their involvement in this
, but also in terms of how her critical work (which resides in her so-called fictional writings as well as in her essays) affects our understanding of ‘fiction’, ‘the novel’, ‘poetry’, ‘literature’, ‘creative writing’, ‘criticism’, ‘narrative theory’, ‘autobiography’, ‘lifewriting’ and so on. Cixous is not so much ‘a writer’s writer’, as a poetic thinker who compels us to develop new ways of approaching both creative and critical writing, both literature and literary criticism and theory.
Historians, critics and theorists alike have tended to overlook
The changes in warfare during the twentieth century could be addressed from a variety of perspectives, political, cultural, and national. This book addresses the issue of how gender is constructed by exploring a range of historical events. It also asserts that a focus on gender, rather than producing a depoliticised reading of our culture, offers an informed debate on a range of political issues. The book explores the impact of warfare on women whose civilian or quasi-military roles resulted in their exile or self-exile to the role of 'other'. The book first draws upon a number of genres to use Richard Aldington and H. D. (the poet Hilda Doolittle), to understand the social and cultural implications of warfare for both parties in a relationship. Then, it examines the intricate gender assumptions that surround the condition of 'shell shock' through a detailed exploration of the life and work of Ver a Brittain. Continuing this theme, considering the nature of warfare, the gendered experience of warfare, through the lens of the home front, the book discusses the gendered attitudes to the First World War located within Aldous Huxley's novella 'Farcical History of Richard Greenow'. Wars represented in Western cinema are almost universally gendered as male, which corresponds to the battlefield history of twentieth-century warfare. As this situation changes, and more women join the armed services, especially in the United States, a more inclusive cinematic coding evolves through struggle. The book considers three decades of film, from the Vietnam War to the present.
the period 1976–1989 in relation to the theme of transcendence; and Rusk (2002) analyses Kingston’s ‘lifewriting of otherness’, in juxtaposition with other contemporary women writers like Jeanette Winterson. While this list attests to Kingston’s status as a major literary figure, it also highlights the absence of an extensive study devoted to her entire oeuvre, which includes the major redirection her work has taken since 2002 towards an engagement with a politics of pacifism and eco-feminism (an omission this study seeks to partly redress). Recent studies look
for images of authentic female selfhood – images which might illuminate what a liberated female person would be like’; 25 in both The Woman Warrior and in Katherine Anne Porter’s novel, we witness the necessity for both inspirational female relatives and the desperate attempt to recuperate the ‘fallen’ woman in the family as part of the adolescent girl’s project of maturation.
The Woman Warrior as lifewriting
Maureen Sabine proposes that the young Maxine’s project is ‘to figure out the women’s life histories