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A critical exploration
Editor: Anna Watz

Whilst many women surrealists worked across different media such as painting, sculpture, photography, and writing, contemporary historiographies have tended to foreground the visual aspects of this oeuvre. Featuring original essays by leading scholars of surrealism, Surrealist Women’s Writing: A Critical Exploration offers the first sustained critical inquiry into the writing of women associated with surrealism. The volume aims to demonstrate the extensiveness and the historical, linguistic, and culturally contextual breadth of this writing, as well as to highlight how the specifically surrealist poetics and politics that characterise these writers’ work intersect with and contribute to contemporary debates on, for example, gender, sexuality, subjectivity, xenophobia, anthropocentrism, and the environment.

Drawing on a variety of innovative theoretical approaches, the essays in the volume focus on the writing of a number of women surrealists, many of whom have hitherto mainly been known for their visual rather than their literary production: Claude Cahun, Leonora Carrington, Kay Sage, Colette Peignot, Suzanne Césaire, Unica Zürn, Ithell Colquhoun, Leonor Fini, Dorothea Tanning and Rikki Ducornet.

Surrealist Women’s Writing: A Critical Exploration offers an important resource for scholars and students across the fields of modernist literature, the historical avant-garde, literary and visual surrealism and its legacies, feminism, and critical theory.

Advancing the cause of liberty

Irish women writers entered the international publishing scene in unprecedented numbers in the period between 1878 and 1922. This collection of new essays explores how Irish women, officially disenfranchised through much of that era, felt inclined and at liberty to exercise their political influence through the unofficial channels of their literary output. By challenging existing and often narrowly-defined conceptions of what constitutes ‘politics’, the chapters investigate Irish women writers’ responses to, expressions of, and dialogue with a contemporary political landscape that included not only the debates surrounding nationalism and unionism, but also those concerning education, cosmopolitanism, language, Empire, economics, philanthropy, socialism, the marriage ‘market’, the publishing industry, the commercial market, and employment. The volume demonstrates how women from a variety of religious, social, and regional backgrounds – including Emily Lawless, L. T. Meade, Katharine Tynan, Lady Gregory, Rosa Mulholland, and the Ulster writers Ella Young, Beatrice Grimshaw, and F. E. Crichton – used their work to advance their own private and public political concerns through astute manoeuvrings both in the expanding publishing industry and against the partisan expectations of an ever-growing readership. Close readings of individual texts are framed by new archival research and detailed historical contextualisation. Offering fresh critical perspectives by internationally-renowned scholars including Lauren Arrington, Heidi Hansson, Margaret Kelleher, Patrick Maume, James H. Murphy, and Eve Patten, Irish Women’s Writing, 1878-1922: Advancing the Cause of Liberty is an innovative and essential contribution to the study of Irish literature as well as women’s writing at the turn of the twentieth century.

New writers, new literatures in the 1990s
Editors: Gill Rye and Michael Worton

The 1990s witnessed an explosion in women's writing in France, with a particularly exciting new generation of writer's coming to the fore, such as Christine Angot, Marie Darrieussecq and Regine Detambel. This book introduces an analysis of new women's writing in contemporary France, including both new writers of the 1990s and their more established counter-parts. The 1990s was an exciting period for women's writing in France. The novels of Louise Lambrichs are brilliant but troubling psychological dramas focusing on the traumas that inhabit the family romance: incest, sterility, the death those we love and the terrible legacy of mourning. The body of writing produced by Marie Redonnet between 1985 and 2000 is an unusually coherent one. The book explores the possibility of writing 'de la mélancolie' through focusing on the work of Chantal Chawaf, whose writing may be described as 'melancholic autofiction', melancholic autobiographical fiction. It places Confidence pour confidence within Constant's oeuvre as a whole, and argues for a more positive reading of the novel, a reading that throws light on the trajectory of mother-daughter relations in her fiction. Christiane Baroche was acclaimed in France first as a short-story writer. Unable to experience the freedom of their brothers and fathers, beur female protagonists are shown to experience it vicariously through the reading, and the writing of, narratives. Clotilde Escalle's private worlds of sex and violence, whose transgressions are part of real lives, shock precisely because they are brought into the public sphere, expressed in and through writing.

From modest shoot to forward plant
Author: Sam George

The stereotype of the forward, sexually precocious female botanist made its first appearance in literature in the turbulent revolutionary climate of the 1790s. The emergence of this figure illustrates both the contemporary appeal, particularly to women, of the Linnaean Sexual System of botanical classification, and the anxieties surrounding female modesty that it provoked. This book explores the cultivation of the female mind and the feminised discourse of botanical literature in eighteenth-century Britain. In particular, it discusses British women's engagement with the Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus, and his unsettling discovery of plant sexuality. The book also explores nationality and sexuality debates in relation to botany and charts the appearance of a new literary stereotype, the sexually precocious female botanist. It investigates the cultivation of the female mind and its implications for the theories of the feminised discourse of botanical literature. The book also investigates a process of feminisation of botany in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's and Priscilla Wakefield's letters on botany; these were literary and educational texts addressed specifically to women. Linnaean classification exemplified order, making botany an ideal discipline for young British women in the eighteenth century. Erasmus Darwin's explicit discussion of sexuality related to the aura of illicit sexuality that had surrounded Sir Joseph Banks. Richard Polwhele appropriates Collinsonia's image of the promiscuous female to allude to Mary Wollstonecraft's sexuality, drawing on forward plants in Darwin and Thomas Mathias. The book finally looks at early nineteenth-century debates and demonstrates how scientific botany came into conflict with the craft of floristry.

The Morality of the Spectator in Eighteenth-Century Gothic
Fiona Price

Represented as feminised, the gothic‘s emotional and visual excess leads to its dismissal as artistically inferior. However, this tendency can be reinterpreted as part of an important response to a tension between two key elements of eighteenth-century aesthetic thought: disinterestedness and sensibility. Although far from being necessarily incompatible, these came to possess significant points of friction. From its inception as a philosophical concept, the notion of disinterested sensibility was undermined by its connection with vision. Examining this in relation to the work of Anna Letitia Barbauld, Ann Radcliffe, Eliza Fenwick and Joanna Baillie, I contend that gothic fiction queries how the disinterested yet ethical spectator might be distinguished from the inhumane, voyeuristic consumer.

Gothic Studies
Victoria Joule

In this article I demonstrate the significance of a flexible approach to examining the autobiographical in early eighteenth-century womens writing. Using ‘old stories’, existing and developing narrative and literary forms, womens autobiographical writing can be discovered in places other than the more recognizable forms such as diaries and memoirs. Jane Barker and Delarivier Manley‘s works are important examples of the dynamic and creative use of cross-genre autobiographical writing. The integration of themselves in their fictional and poetic works demonstrates the potential of generic fluidity for innovative ways to express and explore the self in textual forms.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Melissa Edmundson

Throughout the nineteenth century, the term ‘uncomfortable houses’ was used to describe properties where restless spirits made life unpleasant for any living persons who tried to claim these supernatural residences as their own. This article uses the idea of ‘uncomfortable houses’ to examine how this ghostly discomfort related to larger cultural issues of economics and class in Victorian Britain. Authors such as Charlotte Riddell and Margaret Oliphant used the haunted house story as a means of social critique which commented on the financial problems facing many lower- and middle-class Victorians. Their stories focus on the moral development of the protagonists and reconciliation through the figure of the ghost, ultimately giving readers the happy endings that many male-authored ghost stories lack. Riddell‘s ‘The Old House in Vauxhall Walk’ and ‘Walnut-Tree House’ and Oliphant‘s ‘The Open Door’ serve as important examples of this ‘suburban Gothic’ literature.

Gothic Studies
Clare A. Lees

This article explores the contributions of women scholars, writers and artists to our understanding of the medieval past. Beginning with a contemporary artists book by Liz Mathews that draws on one of Boethius‘s Latin lyrics from the Consolation of Philosophy as translated by Helen Waddell, it traces a network of medieval women scholars of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries associated with Manchester and the John Rylands Library, such as Alice Margaret Cooke and Mary Bateson. It concludes by examining the translation of the Old English poem, The Wife‘s Lament, by contemporary poet, Eavan Boland. The art of Liz Mathews and poetry of Eavan Boland and the scholarship of women like Alice Cooke, Mary Bateson, Helen Waddell and Eileen Power show that women‘s writing of the past – creative, public, scholarly – forms a strand of an archive of women‘s history that is still being put together.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
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Dreamer, realist, analyst, writing
Nicholas Royle

, the Journal , trans. Beverley Bie Brahic (Cambridge: Polity, 2016), 32. 48 Hélène Cixous, ‘The Laugh of the Medusa’, trans. Keith Cohen and Paula Cohen, Signs , 1:4 (1976), 875–93; here, 882. The French runs ‘le rythme qui te rit’: see ‘Le Rire de la Méduse’ (originally published in French in 1975), in Le Rire de la Méduse et autres ironies (Paris: Galilée, 2010), 35–68; here, 49. 49 Cixous, ‘The Laugh of the Medusa’, 888; ‘Le Rire de la Méduse’, 59. I discuss the problematic rendering of ‘écriture féminine’ as ‘women’s writing’, rather

in Hélène Cixous
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Contextualizing Elizabeth Siddal
Anne Woolley

late 1960s feminist critics began to consider whether such a thing as “women’s writing” existed, and if so whether it should be given a distinct entity. Essentialists believe there is a fundamental distinction, arising from social and economic factors rather than biological determination, whereas this book has embraced the opposite, relativist, approach: the analysis of work by men and women by male and female authors and the avoidance of separate anthologies can mitigate against the marginalization of women’s voices encouraged by existing social patriarchy and

in The poems of Elizabeth Siddal in context