Literary Identification from Charlotte Bronte to Tsitsi Dangarembga

Literary Identification from Charlotte Bronte to Tsitsi Dangarembga

by Laura Green


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Literary Identification from Charlotte Bronte to Tsitsi Dangarembga by Laura Green

Literary Identification from Charlotte Brontë to Tsitsi Dangarembga, by Laura Green, seeks to account for the persistent popularity of the novel of formation, from nineteenth-century English through contemporary Anglophone literature. Through her reading of novels, memoirs, and essays by nineteenth-, twentieth-, and twenty-first-century women writers, Green shows how this genre reproduces itself in the elaboration of bonds between and among readers, characters, and authors that she classifies collectively as “literary identification.” Particular literary identifications may be structured by historical and cultural change or difference, but literary identification continues to undergird the novel of formation in new and evolving contexts.
The two nineteenth-century English authors discussed in this book, Charlotte Brontë and George Eliot, established the conventions of the novel of female formation. Their twentieth-century English descendants, Virginia Woolf, Radclyffe Hall, and, Jeanette Winterson, challenge the dominance of heterosexuality in such narratives. In twentieth- and twenty-first-century narratives by Simone de Beauvoir, Jamaica Kincaid, and Tsitsi Dangarembga, the female subject is shaped not only by gender conventions but also by colonial and postcolonial conflict and national identity..
For many contemporary critics and theorists, identification is a middlebrow or feminized reading response or a structure that functions to reproduce the middle-class subjectivity and obscure social conflict. However, Green suggests that the range and variability of the literary identifications of authors, readers, and characters within these novels allows such identifications to function variably as well: in liberatory or life-enhancing ways as well as oppressive or reactionary ones.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814211991
Publisher: Ohio State University Press
Publication date: 10/20/2012
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Laura Green is associate professor and chair of the department of English at Northeastern University. She is also the author of Educating Women: Cultural Conflict and Victorian Literature (2001).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 The Novel of Formation and Literary Identification 17

Experiencing Literary Identification 17

Understanding Literary Identification 21

Defending Literary Identification 34

Chapter 2 Coming Together: George Eliot, Simone de Beauvoir, and Tsitsi Dangarembga 43

George Eliot: Dark Woman, Dutiful Daughter 47

Simone de Beauvoir: My Freedom, Her Death 58

Tsitsi Dangarembga: School Stories 76

Chapter 3 Coming Apart: Charlotte Brontë, Jamaica Kincaid, and Tsitsi Dangarembga 94

Charlotte Bronte: The Politics of Loneliness 99

Jamaica Kincaid: The Politics of Appropriation 113

Tsitsi Dangarembga: The Loneliness of Politics 125

Chapter 4 Coming Out: Virginia Woolf, Radclyffe Hall, and Jeanette Winterson 137

Voyaging Out of the Victorian Novel 141

Who's Afraid of Stephen Gordon? 166

Books Bought Out of Books 179

Afterword 196

Notes 199

Works Cited 212

Index 223

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