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Women's Studies, Gender, and Sexuality

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American Women Writing Fiction

Memory, Identity, Family, Space

edited by Mickey Pearlman

American literature is no longer the refuge of the solitary hero. Like the society it mirrors, it is now a far richer, many-faceted explication of a complicated and diverse society -- racially, culturally, and ethnically interwoven and at the same time fractured and fractious.

Ten women writing fiction in America today -- Toni Cade Bambara, Joan Didion, Louise Erdrich, Gail Godwin, Mary Gordon, Alison Lurie, Joyce Carol Oates, Jayne Anne Phillips, Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, and Mary Lee Settle -- represent that geographic, ethnic, and racial diversity that is distinctively American. Their differing perspectives on literature and the American experience have produced Erdrich's stolid North Dakota plainswomen; Didion's sun-baked dreamers and screamers; the urban ethnics -- Irish, Jewish, and black -- of Gordon, Schaeffer, and Bambara; Oates's small-town, often violent, neurotics; Lurie's intellectual sophisticates; and the southern survivors and victims, male and female, of Phillips, Settle, and Godwin.

The ten original essays in this collection focus on the traditional themes of identity, memory, family, and enclosure that pervade the fiction of these writers. The fictional women who emerge here, as these critics show, are often caught in the interwoven strands of memory, perceive literal and emotional space as entrapping, find identity elusive and frustrating, and experience the interweaving of silence, solitude, and family in complex patterns.

Each essay in this collection is followed by bibliographies of works by and about the writer in question that will be invaluable resources for scholars and general readers alike. Here is a readable critical discussion of ten important contemporary novelists who have broadened the pages of American literature to reflect more clearly the people we are.

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Amigas y Amantes

Sexually Nonconforming Latinas Negotiate Family

Katie L. Acosta

Amigas y Amantes  (Friends and Lovers) explores the experiences of sexually nonconforming Latinas in the creation and maintenance of families. It is based on forty-two in-depth ethnographic interviews with women who identify as lesbian, bisexual, or queer (LBQ). Additionally, it draws from fourteen months of participant observation at LBQ Latina events that Katie L. Acosta conducted in 2007 and 2008 in a major northeast city. With this data, Acosta examines how LBQ Latinas manage loving relationships with the families who raised them, and with their partners, their children, and their friends.  

Acosta investigates how sexually nonconforming Latinas negotiate cultural expectations, combat compulsory heterosexuality, and reconcile tensions with their families. She offers a new way of thinking about the emotion work involved in everyday lives, which highlights the informal, sometimes invisible, labor required in preserving family ties. Acosta contends that the work LBQ Latinas take on to preserve connections with biological families, lovers, and children results in a unique way of doing family.

Paying particular attention to the negotiations that LBQ Latinas undertake in an effort to maintain familial order, Amigas y Amantes explores how they understand femininity, how they negotiate their religious faiths, how they face the unique challenges of being in interracial/interethnic relationships, and how they raise their children while integrating their families of origin.

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Among the White Moon Faces

Shirley Geok-Lin Lim

In this American Book Award-winning autobiography, Shirley Geok-lin Lim recalls her girlhood as part of a Chinese family in war-torn Malaysia, and her later life in the United States, where she moves from alienation as a dislocated Asian woman to a new sense of identity as an Asian-American woman. Lim's memoir explores colonialism, Chinese/Malaysian relations, and race relations in the US, as well as the intricacies of the academic life.

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Amour et sexualité chez l’adolescent

Programme qualitatif d’éducation sexuelle pour jeunes hommes – Carnet de route

Pourquoi être gêné de parler de sexualité ? Y a-t-il un lien entre jalousie et amour ? Comment aborder une fille ? Pourquoi avoir des relations protégées ? Basé sur les propos de jeunes et sur les besoins qu’ils ont exprimés, le Carnet de route du programme qualitatif d’éducation sexuelle pour jeunes hommes a pour objectif: de vaincre l’isolement au sujet des questions sexuelles, de prendre position sur la paternité, de mieux composer avec la masculinité, d’approfondir l’intimité, de maîtriser les habiletés nécessaires à l’utilisation du condom.

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Amour et sexualité chez l’adolescent

Programme qualitatif d’éducation sexuelle pour jeunes hommes – Fondements

Le récit d’une expérience terrain sur laquelle s’appuieront les fondements d’un programme complet d’éducation sexuelle pour jeunes hommes dans la tourmente afin de prévenir les paternités orphelines et les infections transmissibles sexuellement. Ce livre porte sur les processus d’élaboration et de mise en chantier d’un programme d’éducation sexuelle dans une perspective qualitative d’ancrage et de concertation. Notre recherche terrain à l’origine de cette réalisation s’est déroulée dans un important centre jeunesse de la grande région de Montréal. Nous faisons le pari que plusieurs lecteurs intéressés par l’éducation sexuelle désireront comprendre tant les fondements d’un tel programme que les différentes étapes de son implantation, incluant l’évaluation.

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Amour et sexualité chez l’adolescent

Programme qualitatif d’éducation sexuelle pour jeunes hommes – Guide d'animation

Conçu pour permettre aux animateurs et éducateurs de saisir aisément les objectifs poursuivis par ce programme, ce Guide d’animation est un complément essentiel à l’ouvrage Amour et sexualité chez l’adolescent. Il propose une panoplie de moyens concrets pour répondre aux questions posées par les jeunes et fournit le matériel requis (jeux, mises en situation, repérage de films, dépliants, etc.) pour animer les activités en précisant, pour chacune, la durée, l’objectif à atteindre, les activités prévues, le matériel nécessaire, ainsi que la théorie associée.

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Amy Levy

Critical Essays

Naomi Hetherington

Amy Levy has risen to prominence in recent years as one of the most innovative and perplexing writers of her generation. Embraced by feminist scholars for her radical experimentation with queer poetic voice and her witty journalistic pieces on female independence, she remains controversial for her representations of London Jewry that draw unmistakably on contemporary antisemitic discourse. Amy Levy: Critical Essays brings together scholars working in the fields of Victorian cultural history, women’s poetry and fiction, and the history of Anglo-Jewry. The essays trace the social, intellectual, and political contexts of Levy’s writing and its contemporary reception. Working from close analyses of Levy’s texts, the collection aims to rethink her engagement with Jewish identity, to consider her literary and political identifications, to assess her representations of modern consumer society and popular culture, and to place her life and work within late-Victorian cultural debate. This book is essential reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students offering both a comprehensive literature review of scholarship-to-date and a range of new critical perspectives.

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Andre Gide and the Second World War

A Novelist's Occupation

Arguably the most influential French writer of the early twentieth century, André Gide is a paradigmatic figure whose World War II writings offer an exemplary reflection of the challenges facing a leading writer in a time of national collapse. Tracing Gide’s circuitous “intellectual itinerary” from the fall of France through the postwar purge, this book examines the ambiguous role of France’s senior man of letters during the Second World War. The writer’s intricate maneuverings offer privileged insights into three issues of broad significance: the relationship of literature and politics in France during World War II, the repressions and repositionings that continue to fuel controversy about the period, and the role of public intellectuals in times of national crisis. With the exception of the early wartime Journal, Gide’s publications during France’s “dark years” have received little critical attention. This book scrutinizes the entire wartime oeuvre in depth, tracing the evolution of Gide’s political views and, most importantly, reading the wartime texts against each other. It is the interplay among these texts that reveals the full complexity of Gide’s political positionings and the rhetorical brilliance he deployed to redress his tarnished image.

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Androgyny in Late Ming and Early Qing Literature

Zuyan Zhou

The frequent appearance of androgyny in Ming and Qing literature has long interested scholars of late imperial Chinese culture. A flourishing economy, widespread education, rising individualism, a prevailing hedonism--all of these had contributed to the gradual disintegration of traditional gender roles in late Ming and early Qing China (1550-1750) and given rise to the phenomenon of androgyny. Now, Zuyan Zhou sheds new light on this important period, offering a highly original and astute look at the concept of androgyny in key works of Chinese fiction and drama from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. The work begins with an exploration of androgyny in Chinese philosophy and Ming-Qing culture. Zhou proceeds to examine chronologically the appearance of androgyny in major literary writing of the time, yielding novel interpretations of canonical works from The Plum in the Golden Vase, through the scholar-beauty romances, to The Dream of the Red Chamber. He traces the ascendance of the androgyny craze in the late Ming, its culmination in the Ming-Qing transition, and its gradual phasing out after the mid-Qing. The study probes deviations from engendered codes of behavior both in culture and literature, then focuses on two parallel areas: androgyny in literary characterization and androgyny in literati identity. The author concludes that androgyny in late Ming and early Qing literature is essentially the dissident literati's stance against tyrannical politics, a psychological strategy to relieve anxiety over growing political inferiority.

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Angela Hutchinson Hammer

Arizona's Pioneer Newspaperwoman

In 1905, with her marriage dissolved and desperate to find a way to feed her children, Angela Hutchinson Hammer bought a handpress, some ink, and a few fonts of type, and began printing a little tabloid called the Wickenburg Miner. In her naïveté, Angela never dreamed this purchase would place her squarely in the forefront of power struggles during Arizona's early days of statehood. A true daughter of the West, Angela, born in a tiny mining hamlet in Nevada, came to the Territory of Arizona at the age of twelve. Betty Hammer Joy weaves together the lively story of her grandmother's life by drawing upon Angela's own prodigious writing and correspondence, newspaper archives, and the recollections of family members. Her book recounts the stories Angela told of growing up in mining camps, teaching in territorial schools, courtship, marriage, and a twenty-eight-year career in publishing and printing. During this time, Angela managed to raise three sons, run for public office before women in the nation had the right to vote, serve as Immigration Commissioner in Pinal County, homestead, and mature into an activist for populist agendas and water conservation. As questionable deals took place both within and outside the halls of government, the crusading Angela encountered many duplicitous characters who believed that women belonged at home darning socks, not running a newspaper. Although Angela's independent papers brought personal hardship and little if any financial reward, after her death in 1952 the newspaper industry paid tribute to this courageous woman by selecting her as the first woman to enter the Arizona Newspaper Hall of Fame. In 1983 she was honored posthumously with another award for women who contributed to Arizona's progress—induction into the Arizona Women's Hall of Fame.

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