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Author: Heather Walton

This book generates a critical framework through which to interrogate the way in which religious feminists have employed women's literature in their texts. This is in order that both the way we read literature and the literature we read might be subject to scrutiny, and that new reading practices be developed. Having both the critical and constructive agenda, this is a book in two parts. The first part locates the study of the use of women's writing by religious feminists in a much wider frame than has previously been attempted. In the past individual religious feminists have been criticised, often publicly and loudly, for the use they have made of particular literary texts. Having critically surveyed previously unacknowledged constraints under which religious feminists read women's literature, the second part of the book explores how the work of women poststructuralist thinkers and theorists can enrich the reading practices. It offers alternative models for an engagement between literature and theology. Julia Kristeva is best known within the academy for her unorthodox application of Lacanian theory to contemporary culture. Her work challenges religious feminists to reassess the utilitarian approaches to literary texts and enquire into whether these might have a more powerful political role when their status as literature is recognised and affirmed. The book elucidates Luce Irigaray's thinking on sexual difference and also demonstrates its significance for feminist religious readers.

Abstract only
Heather Walton

women poststructuralist thinkers and theorists can enrich our reading practices and offer alternative models for an engagement between literature and theology. Julia Kristeva is best known within the academy for her unorthodox application of Lacanian theory to contemporary culture. She characterises her own work, however, as a quest to discern how the interconnected energies of literature and the sacred represent a vital source of renewal for our deeply ailing political system. Kristeva employs the now familiar device of characterising literature as feminine and

in Literature, theology and feminism
Heather Walton

he would finally gain access to. (1985a: 129) Although Speculum does not offer an explicit critique of Lacan’s elaboration upon Freud, the frequent ‘specular’ images are implicit recollections of his theories. Irigaray implies that the male analyses of subjectivity it contains can be compared to a (boy) child gazing in the mirror. He concentrates only upon the reflection of himself and not the matrix (mother) which supports him. This judgement particularly refers to the manner in which Lacanian theory banishes the m/other from representation but requires her

in Literature, theology and feminism
Hanneke Canters and Grace M. Jantzen

of Irigaray’s general argument about the violation of female lips by male sexual intervention (sometimes under a medical pretext), ‘that blade between my lips’ can be read as a penis or a speculum. This violation has connotations of rape, loss of virginity, and masculine appropriation of reproduction. The second level of interpretation continues Irigaray’s engagement of Lacanian theories of language and its roots in psycho–sexual development: it is his tongue/language which the man forces into the woman’s mouth, causing her to lose her own speech and subjectivity

in Forever fluid
Heather Walton

’ (1989: 259). Black Sun, the last of Kristeva’s trilogy, is also the most conservative. Her work has taken a progressively greater turn towards the clinical as her interest in Lacanian theory and psychoanalytic practice superseded the varied appropriation of a variety of theoretical tools in her early writing. This gives these texts from her second phase an extremely powerful internal coherence. However, whereas once she could speak of concepts like the semiotic as theoretical suppositions justified by the need for description, she later uses arguments about the

in Literature, theology and feminism
Morny Joy

the initiation of social exchange, and the articulation of the unconscious. The locus of the Other is at the same time that site within the subject known as the unconscious. (74) The o/Other in Lacanian theory has thus come to indicate two aspects of one process. It registers the change from the imaginary (unconscious) to symbolic (conscious) cultural conventions. At the same time, it indicates the site of an original maternal bond that has been repressed in this transaction. While it is the mistaken conflation of the imaginary with the symbolic representations

in Divine love