Desire and the Divine
Feminine Identity in White Southern Women's Writing
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Louisiana State University Press
Series: Southern Literary Studies
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
This book has been the work of many years and has undergone numerous changes and versions. Although it started as a doctoral dissertation, it barely resembles those early drafts. Because of the time span of my life that this project has covered, and because this book, like all others, is the work of more than just a writer, ...
Chapter 1. Southern Women, Desire, and the Divine
In an amusingly revealing anecdote, Lee Smith tells interviewer Susan Ketchin that, as a teenager, she would go on dates with her boyfriend to the local church revivals where she would be saved “constantly.” She explains that “religion and sex—you know, excitement, passion—were all together. ...
Chapter 2. Erotic Churches and Sacred Bedrooms
In his posthumously released essay “Of Other Spaces,” Michel Foucault defines what he calls a heterotopia, or a heterotopic space as a real or socially constructed space in which multiple, often opposing and incompatible meanings can exist at once. These heterotopias, however, can be more than just places where these opposite meanings exist; ...
Chapter 3. Resolving the Parental Conflict
The heterotopic space containing sexuality, the sacred, and the South becomes necessarily more complicated with the addition of parental conflicts. Certainly there is a rich narrative history of southern girls who “rebel” against their parents, throwing off or at least struggling with the cultural teachings of their family and society. ...
Chapter 4. Mysticism and Masochism or Religious Ecstasy and Sadomasochistic Delight
In his 1905 work Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, Sigmund Freud made the (now primarily debunked) argument that, because masochism is a naturally feminine state, women are naturally masochistic. This argument, of course, is based on the idea that masochism is a state of weak passivity—a masochist is naturally submissive, ...
Chapter 5. Contemporary Repercussions
Feminists have long argued about the place of religion in women’s lives and, since the 1960s, have been arguing in particular about the place of theology in feminism. In fact, the term “feminist theology” is standard enough now that Cambridge University Press released, in 2002, The Cambridge Companion to Feminist Theology, ...