Telling Women's Lives: Subject/Narrator/Reader/Text

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Overview

For centuries, the "great man" format and masculine discourse of biography and autobiography have eclipsed women. If we accept this history, we remain ignorant of "Lady Sarashina," a Japanese woman of the Han period, whose book survives from the 11th century. We overlook Margaret Cavendish and Dame Julian, two early English autobiographers. And we fail to consider sufficiently slave narratives, oral histories, or lesbian "coming out" stories.

Telling Women's Lives assesses existing traditions of autobiography and biography in search of a method capable of conveying the distinctive content of women's lives while retaining the tenor of feminine subjectivity. Drawing on feminist research methodologies of the past two decades as well as anthropology and sociology, Long paves the way for the formulation of an emergent feminist methodology for telling women's lives.

This highly original study seeks to revise and recreate the genre so as to accommodate a feminine discourse, narrator, reader, and subject. The "messiness" of women's lives-the daily work and detail that men have programmatically excluded-acquires new meaning as Long develops here an innovative theory of sociobiography.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Long (sociology, Syracuse U.) seeks other methods for women's autobiography than the traditional Great Man and masculine discourse. She says it must reflect female subjectivity and provide space for the distinctive nature of women's experience. The one she finds is built on the past two decades of feminist methodology. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814750742
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/1999
  • Series: Feminist Crosscurrents Series
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Judy Long is Professor Emerita of Sociology in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 Telling Women's Lives 1
2 Gender and Genre 15
3 Scribbling Women 27
4 Translating Darkness 45
5 The Second Person in Social Science 59
6 Sociological Life History 73
7 Feminist Biography 101
8 A Feminist Approach to Telling Women's Lives 117
Notes 135
Bibliography 159
Index 179
About the Author 185
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