Becoming and Bonding: Contemporary Feminism and Popular Fiction by American Women Writers

Synopsis

Expounding the view that the feminist movement has both encouraged and enriched literature by women, Katherine Payant examines a large body of immensely popular but, for the most part, critically neglected fiction of the period from the late 1960s through the early 1990s, relating these writers and works to the women's movement and feminist theories. The study concentrates on popular fiction, which is seen as evidence of the widespread influence of feminism and as a vehicle for dissemination of "mainstream" feminist ideas. Chapters dealing with the 1970s and 1980s survey relevant feminist theories and tie them to representative novels. Chosen for special focus in individual chapters are Marge Piercy, Mary Gordon, and Toni Morrison, who reflect divergent perspectives on feminism. Written in accessible prose, this work will deepen the appreciation of readers of these novelists and increase their understanding of the effect of social movements on the arts.