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Adventures of the Spirit: The Older Woman in the Works of Doris Lessing, Margaret Atwood, and Other Contemporary Women Writers

Overview

In Adventures of the Spirit, Phyllis Sternberg Perrakis brings together eleven American and Canadian “literary gerontologists” to examine a new kind of adventure for the older woman in literature. This volume of critical essays analyzes recent works by contemporary women writers whose characters’ midlife and later life changes are mapped in their narratives.

Rather than focusing on the painful losses undergone by women of a certain age, recent narratives explore a new ...

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Overview

In Adventures of the Spirit, Phyllis Sternberg Perrakis brings together eleven American and Canadian “literary gerontologists” to examine a new kind of adventure for the older woman in literature. This volume of critical essays analyzes recent works by contemporary women writers whose characters’ midlife and later life changes are mapped in their narratives.

Rather than focusing on the painful losses undergone by women of a certain age, recent narratives explore a new kind of adventure of aging, one that is spiritual in nature, enabling new ways of being and becoming, but open-ended and capable of great variation in practice. In particular, these journeys of the spirit focus on the retrospective movement undergone by a midlife or older woman as she is led by inner or outer forces to assess where she has come from and decipher a shape or pattern to her journey.

These journeys do not leave the body behind as they map new spiritual territory. Rather they honor spirit’s embrace of the natural world and relationships as well as its aspirations for evolving development and eternal existence.     

The essays in Adventures of the Spirit employ a wide variety of critical lenses to chart these adventures, including archetypal, Sufi, post-colonial, and feminist analysis; archival research; aboriginal life writing; and trauma theory. These studies bring a new understanding to women’s adventure of age in both literary texts and in life.

 

 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814291429
  • Publisher: Ohio State University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2007
  • Edition description: 1
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 0.05 (d)

Meet the Author

Phyllis Sternberg Perrakis is a part-time professor of English at the University of Ottawa and is a co-editor of Doris Lessing Studies.

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     vii
Introduction   Phyllis Sternberg Perrakis     1
Doris Lessing: Spiraling the Waves of Detachment
"Sleepers Wake": The Surfacing of Buried Grief in Doris Lessing's love, again, Paule Marshall's Praisesong for the Widow, and Margaret Drabble's The Seven Sisters   Virginia Tiger     27
Navigating the Spiritual Cycle in Memoirs of a Survivor and Shikasta   Phyllis Sternberg Perrakis     47
Through the "Wall": Crone Journeys of Enlightenment and Creativity in the Works of Doris Lessing, Margaret Atwood, Keri Hulme, and Other Women Writers   Sharon R. Wilson     83
Margaret Atwood: Doubling Back Through the Labyrinth
Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin as Spiritual Adventure   Earl G. Ingersoll     105
"And They Went to Bury Her": Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin and The Robber Bride   Debrah Raschke   Sarah Appleton     126
Atwood's Space Crone: Alchemical Vision and Revision in Morning in the Burned House   Kathryn VanSpanckeren     153
Spiritual Adventuring by Other Contemporary Women Writers
"Mirror, Mirror on the Wall": Fay Weldon's Elder Fairy Tale   Roberta Rubenstein     183
On the Road Again: Aritha Van Herk's No Fixed Address and Suzette Mayr's The Widows   Sally Chivers     200
So Much Depends Upon a Ya-Ya Scrapbook:Trauma, Figured and Reconfigured   Sandra Singer     216
Surviving the Colonialist Legacy of the Klondike Gold Rush: A Native Woman Elder's Liberatory and Integrative Storytelling Turn   Susan Berry Brill de Ramirez     241
"Soul Murder" and Rebirth: Trauma, Narrative, and Imagination in Shani Mootoo's Cereus Blooms at Night   Jeanie E. Warnock     270
Notes on Contributors     299
Index     303
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