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Le Coeur critique

Butor, Simon, Kristeva, Cixous

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Françoise van Rossum-Guyon

Un fil rouge traverse les chapitres de ce livre, la conviction que la littérature, quand elle est vraie, est aussi politique.
Les études et les entretiens réunis dans ce volume s'attachent à discerner et à montrer ce qui, dans les oeuvres de Michel Butor, Claude Simon, Julia Kristeva et Hélène Cixous, produit des significations qui changent nos représentations. De la réflexion sur les pouvoirs et les limites du roman à la prise en compte de la différence sexuelle dans la production textuelle, c'est le travail des écrivains qui révèle et suscite de nouvelles problématiques.
Les expérimentations formelles et les nouveautés théoriques répondent à la nécessité de transmettre et de transmuter une expérience humaine: la guerre, l'exil, le deuil, l'amour. D'une manière ou d'une autre, ces auteurs nous font entrer dans «la scène du coeur». Leurs oeuvres sont ancrées profondément dans le réel biographique et historique et c'est pourquoi elles concernent notre vie et notre histoire.

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Mª Lourdes López Ropero

This chapter traces the motif of the female flâneur in a selection of autobiographical works by Janet Frame and Doris Lessing set in the 1950s, the 1960s and contemporary London. It argues that flânery has not only allowed Frame and Lessing to assert their visibility in the modern city as women and as authors, but has provided them with rich materials for their writing. My analysis emphasises the impact of their colonial background on their urban visions, an issue which has been overlooked or inadequately emphasised in recent flâneur scholarship.

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Anne-Marie Evans

Edith Wharton was eager to follow Henry James’s advice when he famously suggested she “Do New York” in 1902, and the result of her subsequent endeavours was The House of Mirth (1905). This chapter considers the function of forms of space in Wharton’s text, and draws on the work of economist Thorstein Veblen, author of the seminal The Theory of the Leisure Class: an Economic Study in the Evolution of Institutions (1899). By re-reading The House of Mirth in terms of the consumer politics of the Gilded Age, and analysing how the central protagonist Lily Bart is able to manipulate areas of public space, it is possible to explore how women are consistently relegated to the status of products for male consumption. Wharton’s scathing critique of the leisure class, exemplified through Lily’s hazardous journey from attractive product to impoverished producer, illustrates the narrow options available to the single woman of the time. By exploring the utilisation of consumerism and the use of different forms of space in Wharton’s bestseller, this analysis intends to understand better the changing role of women within a materialist-centred culture.

Inside Out

Women negotiating, subverting, appropriating public and private space

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Edited by Teresa Gómez Reus and Aránzazu Usandizaga

The incursions of women into areas from which they had been traditionally excluded, together with the literary representations of their attempts to negotiate, subvert and appropriate these forbidden spaces, is the underlying theme that unites this collection of essays. Here scholars from Australia, Greece, Great Britain, Spain, Switzerland and the United States reconsider the well-entrenched assumptions associated with the public/private distinction, working with the notions of public and private spheres while testing their currency and exploring their blurred edges. The essays cover and uncover a rich variety of spaces, from the slums and court-rooms of London to the American wilderness, from the Victorian drawing-room and sick-room to out of the ordinary places like Turkish baths and the trenches of the First World War. Where previous studies have tended to focus on a single aspect of women’s engagement with space, this edited book reveals a plethora of subtle and tenacious strategies found in a variety of discourses that include fiction, poetry, diaries, letters, essays and journalism. Inside Out goes beyond the early work on artistic explorations of gendered space to explore the breadth of the field and its theoretical implications.

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Lia van de Biezenbos

Omniprésente dans son oeuvre mais loin d'être glorieuse, la maternité se trouve au centre de l'univers littéraire de Marguerite Duras. Le désir de retourner dans le sein maternel et l'impossibilité d'y parvenir se confondent dans le jeu de l'écriture pour composer le refrain sans fin qu'est ce désir d'osmose.
Dans cette étude, l'auteur se propose d'aller au-delà du lien entre l'omniprésence du personnage maternel et la réalité biographique de Duras en soulignant le caractère fictionnel de l'oeuvre. Des analyses textuelles rhétoriques et narratologiques lui permettent de souligner les représentations de la maternité et de la féminité dans les textes de Duras et dans la théorie psychanalytique freudienne. La confrontation de ces deux discours résulte en un dialogue entre Duras et Freud où les deux locuteurs fictifs sont respectés, mais soumis à une analyse critique. La question qui s'impose est de savoir si l'oeuvre de Duras contribue à confirmer la différence sexuelle définie dans le contexte social et ancrée dans la relation avec la mère, comme le prétend la psychanalyse freudienne, ou si elle contribue justement à la remise en question de cette différence sociale.
L'écriture de Duras manie les clichés culturels et les mythes qui entourent la mère et la maternité. Ceci se manifeste sous des aspects d'une grande variété. Cette thèse montre le jeu des variations sur les fantasmes soi-disant universels, variations qui se dessinent dans les répétitions apparentes qui prennent à chaque fois une forme nouvelle. L'originalité de Duras est de prendre les mythes et les fantasmes à la lettre, et ce procédé les rend parfois grotesques. La forme littéraire paradoxale donnée à ces fantasmes renverse le rapport entre le littéral et le figuré. Sans être moralisateurs, ils mettent ainsi en lumière le caractère fantasmatique de l'idéologie qui ancre la féminité dans la maternité.
Même maintenant, dix ans après le décès de Marguerite Duras, son œuvre inspire toujours de nombreux lecteurs. L'année du dixième anniversaire de sa mort célèbre cette oeuvre qui continue à nous fasciner. Le présent livre vous offre le plaisir d'une lecture enrichissante des fantasmes entourant le personnage de la mère. A travers une lecture qui adopte la littéralité et qui s'ajuste aux méandres du texte durassien, l'auteur de ce livre veut contribuer à mieux comprendre les conflits et les désirs, les fantasmes et les images, qui entourent le rôle féminin par excellence qu'est la maternité.

Body Show/s

Australian viewings of live performance

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Edited by Peta Tait

Body Show/s: Australian Viewings of Live Performance asks: in what ways do physical bodies in live performance present vital and compelling expressions of ideas?
This collection contains critical analyses of cultural spectacle and social identity by eighteen major Australian scholars and practitioners. It discusses and describes bodies in contemporary performance, theatre, visual art and dance; in circus and ethnographic shows; in performance training, butoh and wrestling; at gay and lesbian dance parties; and in relation to digital images. It explores historical and theoretical issues of gender and postcoloniality, technology, and the location of bodies in architectural, social and virtual spaces.
Artistes and groups discussed include Sydney Front, Open City, The Performance Space, Meryl Tankard’s Australian Dance Theatre, Chrissie Parrott, the Bell Shakespeare Company, Tess De Quincey, Yumi Umiumare, Gilgul Theatre, Lyndal Jones, Stelarc, Death Defying Theatre, colonial circus, ethnographic displays, the horse as performer, and wrestling legends Gorgeous George and Ravishing Ricky Rude.

The Theater of Transformation

Postmodernism in American Drama

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Kerstin Schmidt

The Theater of Transformation: Postmodernism in American Drama offers a fresh and innovative reading of the contemporary experimental American theater scene and navigates through the contested and contentious relationship between postmodernism and contemporary drama. This book addresses gender and class as well as racial issues in the context of a theoretical discussion of dramatic texts, textuality, and performance. Transformation is contemporary drama's answer to the questions of postmodernism and a major technique in the development of a postmodern language for the stage. In order to demonstrate the multi-faceted nature of the postmodern theater of transformation, this study draws on a wide range of plays: from early experimental plays of the 1960s by Jean-Claude van Itallie through feminist plays by Megan Terry and Rochelle Owens to more recent drama by the African-American playwright Suzan-Lori Parks.
The Theater of Transformation: Postmodernism in American Drama is written for anyone interested in contemporary American drama and theater as well as in postmodernism and contemporary literary theory. It appeals even more broadly to a readership intrigued by the ubiquitous aspects of popular culture, by feminism and ethnicity, and by issues pertaining to the so-called 'society of spectacle' and the study of contemporary media.

Deep hiStories

Gender and Colonialism in Southern Africa

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Edited by Wendy Woodward, Patricia Hayes and Gary Minkley

Deep hiStories represents the first substantial publication on gender and colonialism in Southern Africa in recent years, and suggests methodological ways forward for a post-apartheid and postcolonial generation of scholars. The volume’s theorizing, which is based on Southern African regional material, is certain to impact on international debates on gender – debates which have shifted from earlier feminisms towards theorizations which include sexual difference, subjectivities, colonial (and postcolonial) discourses and the politics of representation. Deep hiStories goes beyond the dichotomies which have largely characterized the discussion of women and gender in Africa, and explores alternative models of interpretation such as ‘genealogies of voice’. These ‘genealogies’ transcend the conventional binaries of visibility and invisibility, speaking and silence. Works covering South Africa from the eighteenth to the twentieth century and Zimbabwe, Namibia and Cameroon in the twentieth include:
• Colonial readings of Foucault
• Ideologies of domesticity
• Torture and testimony of slave women
• Women as missionary targets
• Gender and the public sphere
• Race, science and spectacle
• Male nursing on mines
• Infanticide, insanity and social control
• Fertility and the postcolonial state
• Literary reconstructions of the past
• Gender-blending and code-switching
• De/colonizing the queer
The collection includes diverse research on the body in Southern Africa for the first time. It brings new subtleties to the ongoing debates on culture, civility and sexuality, dealing centrally with constructions of race and whiteness in history and literature. It is an important resource for teachers and students of gender and colonial studies.

The Memory of Pain

Women’s Testimonies of the Holocaust

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Camila Loew

In this book, Camila Loew analyzes four women’s testimonial literary writings on the Holocaust to examine and question some of the tenets of the fields of Holocaust studies, gender studies, and testimony. Through a close reading of the works of Charlotte Delbo, Margarete Buber-Neumann, Ruth Klüger, and Marguerite Duras, Loew foregrounds these authors’ search for a written form to engage with their experiences of the extreme. Although each chapter contains its individual focus and features, the book possesses a unity in intention, concerns, and consequences. In the theoretical introduction that unites the four chapters, Loew eschews essentialism and revises the emergence of the field of Women and Holocaust studies from the early 1980s on, and signals some of its shortcomings. In response, and in accordance with a recent turn in various disciplines of the Humanities, Loew highlights the ethical dimension of testimony and its responsible commitment to the other. In dealing with the texts as literary testimonies—a complex genre, between literature and history—, testimony is freed from the obligation to respond to the requirements of factual truth, and becomes a privileged form to voice the traumatic event, and to symbolically explore the role of excess.