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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.

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Susana Onega

Hollinghurst and Jeanette Winterson. All these writers received a university education in literature and at some stage combined their creative activity with literary criticism and/or the teaching of literature, so that they have a wide knowledge of literary theory as well as of canonical literature. All of them share a keen interest in history and in the problematic relationship of self and world, and, in various degrees, a relish for metafiction; that is, they share a self-conscious and playful tendency to foreground the artificiality and linguistic nature of their own

in Jeanette Winterson
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Susana Onega

conclusion.qxd 2/2/06 2:02 pm Page 226 Conclusion In the span of thirty years, Jeanette Winterson has achieved international recognition as one of the leading present-day British writers. No longer of exclusive interest for the lesbian readership that launched her to fame in the 1980s, her novels are read, enjoyed and hotly discussed both by the general public and academia. Thus, while film and theatre versions have been made of her most popular novels, the most experimental ones often appear in the syllabuses of university courses on contemporary British

in Jeanette Winterson
Abstract only
Susana Onega

chap 5.qxd 2/2/06 2:01 pm Page 203 5 Only connect . . . In the last four years, Jeanette Winterson has considerably increased the range of her already notable public activity. She has lectured, interviewed other writers, given talks on the radio, written book introductions, essays on art, short stories, poems ‘of the month’ and what one reviewer has described as ‘plenty of opinionated journalism’.1 Most of these articles, poems and short stories are accessible on her website, launched at the publication of The.PowerBook. In 2000 Winterson undertook with

in Jeanette Winterson
Susana Onega

chap 1.qxd 2/2/06 1:57 pm Page 17 1 Of priests and prophets Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit was published as a paperback by Pandora Press in 1985. As Jeanette Winterson notes in the Introduction to the Vintage edition of the novel, she wrote it ‘on a £25 office Goliath with an industrial quantity of Tipex’, ‘during the winter of 1983 and the spring of 1984’, at a time when ‘I was unhappy in London, didn’t want to be in advertising or banking like most of my Oxford contemporaries, couldn’t bring myself to hold down any job that hinted of routine hours’.1

in Jeanette Winterson
Abstract only
Susana Onega

’s The Well of Loneliness, a novel that makes lesbianism visible but only at the cost of associating it with sickness or unhappiness. In Art Objects, Jeanette Winterson explicitly dissociates herself from Radclyffe Hall – ‘Our work has nothing in common’ (AO 103) – and signals Orlando as her model (AO 61–77). In keeping with this, the characterisation of Winterson’s protagonists shows a steady progression in the refinement of the friendship model, with its definition of identity as fluid and relational rather than fixed and oppositional. Thus, in Oranges, Jeanette

in Jeanette Winterson
Susana Onega

chap 2.qxd 2/2/06 1:59 pm Page 54 2 History and storytelling One year after the publication of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit and Boating for Beginners, Jeanette Winterson published Fit for the Future (1986), a non-fictional book on fitness for women, which, as the author herself has noted, she wrote for money and because she was extremely fit at the time. As she humorously remarked in her column in the Guardian, this book might have led her career in an utterly different direction from the one it eventually took: ‘Thankfully, this is out, and what a good

in Jeanette Winterson
Susana Onega

chap 4.qxd 2/2/06 2:00 pm Page 154 4 Multiple selves and worlds After Art & Lies, Jeanette Winterson published her seventh novel, Gut Symmetries (1997), and a collection of short stories, The World and Other Places (1998). As the author explains in the Afterword, the seventeen stories contained in this collection were written ‘over a period of twelve years, beginning soon after Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit was published in 1985’ (WOP 231). Winterson describes these stories as ‘a charting of the ideas that interest me’: the nature of Time, which I began to

in Jeanette Winterson
The sense of an ending in Jeanette Winterson’s The Stone Gods
Adeline Johns-Putra

9 The unsustainable aesthetics of sustainability: the sense of an ending in Jeanette Winterson’s The Stone Gods Adeline Johns-Putra Jeanette Winterson’s 2007 novel, The Stone Gods, is a critique of progress, both in the general sense of movement, journeying, or going forward, and in the specialised sense of human development, particularly the privileging of economic and scientific improvement that is often called the myth or narrative of progress. In the spirit of so many of Winterson’s novels, The Stone Gods places its several protagonists on journeys, most

in Literature and sustainability
Contemporary environmental crisis fiction and the post-theory era
Louise Squire

on a notion of death as underlying all life. Novels such as the three books of Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy (2003, 2009, 2013), Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide (2004), Jeanette Winterson’s The Stone Gods (2007) and various others each explore a notion of death-facing as an ecological imperative. Taking death-denial as the root cause of environmental crisis, they consider a conscious turning towards death, depicted as the recognition and acceptance of humanity’s mortal status. This theme of ecological death-facing, as I refer to it, thus signals a fundamental

in Extending ecocriticism