The Erotics of Talk: Women's Writing and Feminist Paradigms / Edition 1

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Overview


Is feminism in "crisis?" With many feminists now questioning identification and focusing on differences between women, what is the fate of feminist criticism's traditional imperative to rescue women's stories and make their voices heard?

In this provocative rereading of the classic texts of the feminist literary canon, Carla Kaplan takes a hard look at the legacy of feminist criticism and argues that important features of feminism's own canon have been overlooked in the rush to rescue and identify texts. African-American women's texts, she demonstrates, often dramatize their distrust of their readers, their lack of faith in "the cultural conversation," through strategies of self-silencing and "self-talk." At the same time, she argues, the homoerotics of women's writing has too often gone unremarked. Not only does longing for an ideal listener draw women's texts into a romance with the reader, but there is an erotic excess which is part of feminist critical recuperation itself.

Drawing on a wide range of resources, from sociolinguistics and anthropology to literary theory, Kaplan's highly readable study proposes a new model for understanding and representing "talk." She supplies fresh readings of such feminist classics as Jane Eyre, "The Yellow Wallpaper," Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and The Color Purple, revealing how their "erotics of talk" works as a rich political allegory and form of social critique.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195099157
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 12/28/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Carla Kaplan is Associate Professor in the English Department at Yale where she also teaches in Women's Studies, African-American Studies, American Studies. She publishes widely on feminist theory and criticism, women's writing, African-American literature, American literature, and modernism.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: In Search of an Ideal Listener 3
1 Silence: Reading Feminist Readings: Recuperative Reading and the Silent Heroine of Feminist Criticism 23
2 Contracts: Recuperating Agents: Narrative Contracts, Emancipatory Readers, and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl 47
3 Romance: Girl Talk: Jane Eyre and the Romance of Women's Narration 71
4 Dialogue: "That Oldest Human Longing": The Erotics of Talk in Their Eyes Were Watching God 99
5 Exchange: "Somebody I Can Talk To": Teaching Feminism Throught: The Color Purple 123
Conclusion: Auditions 144
Notes 165
Bibliography 207
Index 227
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