Writing Mothers and Daughters: Renegotiating the Mother in Western European Narratives by Women

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
This first systematic study of mother-daughter relationships as represented in Western European fiction during the second half of the 20th century provides a comparative study of works from England, France, Germany, Austria, Ireland, Italy, and Spain. For each individual body of texts, the authors identify characteristics arising from specific national literary traditions and from internal cultural diversities. The text suggests avenues for future investigation both within and across national boundaries. The featured writers include Steedman, Diski, Winterson, Tennant, de Beauvoir, Leduc, Djura, Wolf, Jelinek, Mitgutsch, Novak, Lavin, O'Brien, O'Faolin, Morante, Sanvitale, Ramondino, Chacel, Rodoreda, and Martin Gaite. The six contributing authors are scholars from New Zealand, England, Ireland, Italy and Wales. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781571819536
  • Publisher: Berghahn Books, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/15/2001
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 62.50 (w) x 92.50 (h) x 7.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Adalgisa Giorgio is Senior Lecturer in Italian Studies at the University of Bath.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
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
Index 251
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