Chick Lit: The New Woman's Fiction / Edition 1

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From the bestselling Bridget Jones's Diary that started the trend to the television sensation Sex and the City that captured it on screen, "chick lit" has become a major pop culture phenomenon. Banking on female audiences' identification with single, urban characters who struggle with the same life challenges, publishers have earned millions and even created separate imprints dedicated to the genre. Not surprisingly, some highbrow critics have dismissed chick lit as trashy fiction, but fans have argued that it is as empowering as it is entertaining.

This is the first volume of its kind to examine the chick lit phenomenon from a variety of angles, accounting for both its popularity and the intense reactions-positive and negative-it has provoked. The contributors explore the characteristics that cause readers to attach the moniker "chick" to a particular book and what, if anything, distinguishes the category of chick lit from the works of Jane Austen on one end and Harlequin romance novels on the other. They critique the genre from a range of critical perspectives, considering its conflicted relationship with feminism and postfeminism, heterosexual romance, body image, and consumerism. The fourteen original essays gathered here also explore such trends and subgenres as "Sistah Lit," "Mommy Lit," and "Chick Lit Jr.," as well as regional variations.

As the first book to consider the genre seriously, Chick Lit offers real insight into a new generation of women's fiction.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In this pioneering book female critics take a serious look at what the genre has begotten thus far and consider its place in literary history, which has long cast a dubious eye on books written by women solely to please themselves and other women." — Tania Modleski, author of Loving with a Vengeance: Mass-Produced Fantasies for Women

"Valuable addition to the field, not only of gender and popular culture but of feminism in general." —College Literature

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415975032
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 10/7/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Suzanne Ferriss is Professor of English at Nova Southeastern University. She is co-author of A Handbook of Literary Feminisms and co-editor of two volumes on the cultural study of fashion: On Fashion and Footnotes: On Shoes.

Mallory Young is Professor of English and French at Tarleton State University.

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Table of Contents

Suzanne Ferriss and Mallory Young, Introduction

The Hatching of a Genre: Origins and Influences
Cris Mazza, "Tome of the Unknown Chick: A Short History of Chick-Lit and the Perversion of a Genre"
Stephanie Harzewski, "Tradition and Displacement in the New Novel of Manners"
Juliette Wells, "Mothers of Chick Lit?: Women Writers, Readers, and Literary History"
Suzanne Ferriss, "Narrative and Cinematic Doubleness: Pride and Prejudice and Bridget Jones's Diary"

Free Range: Varieties and Variations
Lisa A. Guerrero, "'Sistahs Are Doin' It for Themselves': Chick Lit in Black and White"
Elizabeth Hale, "Long-Suffering Professional Females: The Case of Nanny-Lit"
Heather Hewett, "You Are Not Alone: The Personal, the Political, and the 'New'
Mommy Lit"
Joanna Webb Johnson, "Chick Lit Jr.: More Than Just Glitz and Glamour for Teens
and Tweens"
Elizabeth B. Boyd, "Ya Yas, Grits and Sweet Potato Queens: Contemporary Southern
Belles and the Prescriptions That Guide Them"
Nora Sellei, "Bridget Jones and Hungarian Chick Lit"

Sex and the Single Chick: Feminism and Postfeminism, Sexuality and Self-Fashioning
A. Rochelle Mabry, "About a Girl: Female Subjectivity and Sexuality in Contemporary 'Chick' Culture"
Anna Kiernan, "No Satisfaction: Sex and the City, Run Catch Kiss, and the Conflict of Desires in Chick Lit's New Heroines"
Jessica Lyn Van Slooten, "Fashionably Indebted: Fashion, Romance, and Conspicuous Consumption in Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic Trilogy"
Alison Umminger, "Super-Sizing Bridget Jones: What's Really Eating the Women
in Chick Lit"

Shari Benstock, Afterword

Contributors' Notes
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