Contemporary American Women Writers: Narrative Strategies

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Overview

Ann Beattie, Annie Dillard, Maxine Hong Kingston, Toni Morrison, Cynthia Ozick, Grace Paley, Marge Piercy, Anne Redmon, Anne Tyler, and Alice Walker all seem to be especially concerned with narrative management. The ten essays in this book raise new and intriguing questions about the ways these leading women writers appropriate and transform generic norms and ultimately revise literary tradition to make it more inclusive of female experience, vision, and expression.

The contributors to this volume discover diverse narrative strategies. Beattie, Dillard, Paley, and Redmon in divergent ways rely heavily upon narrative gaps, surfaces, and silences, often suggesting depths which are lamentably absent from modern experience or which mysteriously elude language. For Kingston and Walker, verbal assertiveness is the focus of narratives depicting the gradual empowerment of female protagonists who learn to speak themselves into existence.

Ozick and Tyler disrupt conventional reader expectations of the "anti-novel" and the "family novel," respectively. Finally, Morrison's and Piercy's works reveal how traditional narrative forms such as the Bildungsroman and the "soap opera" are adaptable to feminist purposes.

In examining the writings of these ten important women authors, this book illuminates a significant moment in literary history when women's voices are profoundly reshaping American literary tradition.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
The essays contain a useful balance of theory and detail for both the critical and general reader; the contributors are authorities in their fields who describe complex narrative strategies in an accessible style.
— Choice
From the Publisher

"The essays contain a useful balance of theory and detail for both the critical and general reader; the contributors are authorities in their fields who describe complex narrative strategies in an accessible style." -- Choice

Library Journal
Critical essays by male and female scholars on ten mainstream contemporary American women writers (Beattie, Paley, Dillard, Redmon, Ozick, Tyler, Walker, Kingston, Morrison, Piercy) provide perspective on their contributions to the narrative form. Shifts in content and point of view brought about by the rise of feminism in the 1970s distinguish these artists; the question is: Have they redefined American literary tradition? Each of the ten scholars reveals how narrative innovations manipulate traditional aesthetics. A complete bibliography of each writer ends each chapter. Essential for subject collections in American literature and women's studies. Rhoda Yerburgh, Adult Degree Program, Vermont Coll., Montpelier
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813101682
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 10/28/1985
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

Catherine Rainwater, lecturer in English at the University of Texas at Austin, is co-editor of Three Contemporary Women Novelists: Hazzard, Ozick and Redmon.

William J. Scheick, professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin, is the author of a number of books, including The Half-Blood: A Cultural Symbol in Nineteenth-Century American Fiction.

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