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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.
|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|