In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

HUMANITIES 575 commibnent to the basic equality of the sexes. The problem lies, for Fleming, in the fact that Habermas's universalism is based on a concept of social labour (involving both technical useful knowledge and moralpractical insight) that does not apply to the 'female' labour of socialization. Here Fleming discerns a conceptual inadequacy as Haberrnas reproduces the Marxian exclusion of 'female' work from social labour. The importance Habermas gives to socialization processes for reproducing the modem type of life-world makes all the more conspicuous the absence of the nurturer role from the social roles institutionalized in the system/life-world exchange. Emancipation and Illusion successfully appeals - in the sense of being of interest but also of making an appeal- to both theorists of modernity and feminist thinkers. Fleming's aim is to foster a mutually enhancing interrogation: to urge feminists to tackle questions of rationality while rejecting a simplistic division between rationality and culture; and to take feminist issues directly to Habermas's theory of rationality, interrogating his understanding ofnniversality. But ifHabermas's theory is to contribute to a new universalism, it will have to be reconstructed- as a critical and historical project- to give explicit attention to issues of gender, and a shift will have to take place from trying to justify the gendered understanding of modernity to accounting for, and correcting, gendered and Western asswnptions taken by Habennas and others to be representative of rationality and modernity. (BINA TOLEDO FREIWALD) Cristina Bacchilega. Postmodern Fairy Tales: Gender and Narrative Stmtegies University of Pennsylvania Press. 208. us$32.50 Cristina Bacchilega performs a deft layered reading of four 'classic' fairytales and selectpostmodern retellings.Working with fairy-tale and folklore studies and their major investigators as her inheritance, Bacchilega nevertheless assumes a literary perspective from which to review the familiar tales and their contemporary revisions. The enabling lenses of narratology provide the author with shifting frames of her own by which both the feminist and postmodern focus on subject and gender construction can meet the artful, 'normative' constructions of these in the tales. Arguing that the selected postmodem works reposition and replace narrative mirrors from within, Bacchilega enters this intertextual 'subjectival network' to examine the magic of these mirrors, beginning with the framing of 'Snow White.' The narrative mirroring of voice, focalization, and agency -who speaks? who sees? who does?- in each of 'Little Red Riding Hood,' 'Beauty and the Beast,' and 'Bluebeard' situates their respective performances of subjectivity in social and narrative contexts. This mirroring is refracted in turn by the stories' postrnodem - and metafolkloric - 576 LEITERS IN CANADA 1997 revisionists. Revealing the performed and performative nature of the subject through their doubling strategies, these fairy-tale revisions further define themselves as postmodem by their self-awareness; the task they perform is also staged, in an inherently self-relativising gesture. Without proposing the entire project anew, Bacchilega contributes another concise statement to that intersection of charters which is feminist postmodem revisionist strategies. It is through supremely informed, energetic, and clear close readings that the book achieves its argument, juxtaposing the works of renowned revisionists like Angela Carter, Margaret Atwood, Robert Coover, and Donald Barthelme with examples from television, film, and musicals. But even in her analysis of Atwood's and Carter's fairy-tale treatments, Bacchilega avoids staid summary of the already extensive critical conversation. Nor is she squeamish about taking on the sideline debate in Carter criticism arising from that author's frequent, perhaps ambiguous, reproduction of pornography. Although Bacchilega has not aimed here to produce a postrrtodern typology, one of the interesting directions this work does take is in distinguishing between 'repetition' and 'opposition' in retellings, and pointing to a 'generic tension'between the two. Her analysis thus points the way for some finer distinctions among revisionist works. It is possible for an intertextual work to reflect- without reflecting upon- the fairy-tale intertext. Naming fictions of opposition Jpostmodern' is perhaps one way of indicating a disenchantment with generic assumptions ofrevisionism in intertextual engagements. In this way, Bacchilega's own work exemplifies the strategies which are her subject matter. (CASIE HERMANSSON) T.L. Thomas. A City with a Difference: The Rise and Fall ofthe Montreal Citizen...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 575-576
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.