Feminist Alternatives: Irony and Fantasy in the Contemporary Novel by Women

Feminist Alternatives: Irony and Fantasy in the Contemporary Novel by Women

Feminist Alternatives: Irony and Fantasy in the Contemporary Novel by Women

Feminist Alternatives: Irony and Fantasy in the Contemporary Novel by Women

Synopsis

This analytical survey of contemporary fiction is a study of more than twenty-five novels written by women during a twenty-year period of rapid socio-cultural change resulting from the philosophy & goals of the contemporary women's movement. Winner of the 1990 Eudora Welty Prize.

Excerpt

In her graceful and perceptive book Writing a Woman's Life,Carolyn Heilbrun writes, "Women must turn to one another for stories; they must share the stories of their lives and their hopes and their unacceptable fantasies." There are, Heilbrun notes, "four ways to write a woman's life":

[T]he woman herself may tell it, in what she chooses to call an autobiography; she may tell it in what she chooses to call fiction; a biographer, woman or man, may write the woman's life in what is called a biography; or the woman may write her own life in advance of living it, unconsciously, and without recognizing or naming the process. (11)

Writing a Woman's Life deals with three of these four ways, omitting "an analysis of the fictions in which many women have written their lives" (11).

This is a book about those "fictions"--specifically the contemporary novel--in which women have written their own lives and women's lives they have imagined, and as such it joins many other studies published in recent years. Indeed, the outpouring of critical studies of contemporary women's fiction informs Heilbrun's decision to confine her remarks to other genres. The rich diversity . . .

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