'Susan Ingram's manuscript on modernist women's autobiographical writings offers a bold new approach to important problems of identity and relationality in modernist and postmodernist theory, as well as a fresh look at the problems feminist critics face when examining texts in which women found their identities in part on their relationships with men. She also offers a critical introduction to the works of several women autobiographers who are virtually unknown (particularly A. Lacis and R. Nijinsky) or neglected by scholars of autobiography. Insightful and deeply thoughtful, her contribution to philosophy and literary theory in this work will surely have an important impact on studies of modernism and postmodernism, as well as on the ethics of autobiographical writing.'
Zarathustra's Sisters: Women's Autobiography and the Shaping of Cultural Historyby Susan Ingram
Although the names Mandel'shtam and Nijinsky more commonly evoke the Russian poet and the ballet dancer, their wives, Nadezhda and Romola are also beginning to attract attention. Similarly, the lives and works of Simone de Beauvoir, Lou Andreas-Salome, Asja Lacis, and Maitreyi Devi all have been represented as having been dominated by their association with some of
Although the names Mandel'shtam and Nijinsky more commonly evoke the Russian poet and the ballet dancer, their wives, Nadezhda and Romola are also beginning to attract attention. Similarly, the lives and works of Simone de Beauvoir, Lou Andreas-Salome, Asja Lacis, and Maitreyi Devi all have been represented as having been dominated by their association with some of the most important men of Western letters, but they too are coming into their own. These six women all wrote the stories of their own lives, creating powerful narratives that channelled cultural forces at the same time as parrying them. Susan Ingram analyzes the literary, cultural, and ethical effects of these writers whose lives were intertwined with the cultural vibrations of their time, and who heralded the postmodern in having to negotiate their subject positions in the form of a relational autonomy, an ethical sense of alterity, and a strong desire to make an intervention in the cultures of their times.
Interdisciplinary in approach, this study brings together scholarship on auto/biography, post/modernity, ethics, identity, and relationality, and makes available material from a variety of languages, some of which appears in English for the first time. In relating the life-stories of six remarkable women to the increasingly popular genre of academic personal criticism, Ingram concludes that the ambiguous, problematic way these women represent their autonomy encourages us to read such academic criticism with attention to the way it represents and often blurs personal and collective identity.
- University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
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- 6.20(w) x 9.24(h) x 0.85(d)
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Susan Ingram is currently a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow and Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Victoria.
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