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The psychoanalytic discovery of the importance of the pre-oedipal mother-daughter bond in the 1970s generated a vast amount of feminist theory attempting to identify the specificity of, and give value to, the daughter's relationship to her mother. At the same time women writers engaged in the complex task of representing this highly conflictual relationship which had been largely absent in women's narrative until then. Although much criticism has been written on individual texts, no systematic study of the development of this theme in Western European fiction exists.
This book offers the first comparative assessment of the subject-matter in England, France, Germany and Austria, Ireland, Italy, and Spain in the second half of last century. The six main chapters explore the interplay between narrative strategies, psychic structures, and socio-political and cultural processes in the textual representation of the relationship in each country, thus providing original interpretations both of classic texts by established writers and of more recent narratives by new or emerging authors. Among the writers featured are Steedman, Diski, Winterson, Tennant, de Beauvoir, Leduc, Djura, Wolf, Jelinek, Mitgutsch, Novak, Lavin, O'Brien, O'Faoláin, Morante, Sanvitale, Ramondino, Chacel, Rodoreda, Martín Gaite.
|Notes on Contributors|
|Introduction: Mothers and Daughters in Western Europe: Mapping the Territory||1|
|Ch. 1||Writing the Mother-Daughter Relationship: Psychoanalysis, Culture, and Literary Criticism||11|
|Ch. 2||Towards a Female Symbolic: Re-Presenting Mothers and Daughters in Contemporary Spanish Narrative by Women||47|
|Ch. 3||'The Horror of the Unlived Life': Mother-Daughter Relationships in Contemporary Irish Women's Fiction||85|
|Ch. 4||The Passion for the Mother: Conflicts and Idealisations in Contemporary Italian Narrative by Women||119|
|Ch. 5||Writing Mother-Daughter Relationality in the French Context||155|
|Ch. 6||Bad Daughters and Unmotherly Mothers: The New Family Plot in the Contemporary English Novel||185|
|Ch. 7||Power and Powerlessness: Mothers and Daughters in Postwar German and Austrian Literature||215|