Fashioning the female subject: the intertextual networking of Dickinson, Moore, and Rich
In Fashioning the Female Subject, Sabine Sielke addresses the often nebulous concept of female subjectivity through a critical analysis of the poetry of Emily Dickinson, Marianne Moore, and Adrienne Rich, each of whom has uniquely fashioned and transformed the female subject over the last 150 years. Applying the feminist theories of Kristeva, Irigaray, and Cixous, Sielke articulately develops a notion of female subjectivity as an intertextual network, a network whose three historically distinct levels illustrate a clear evolution in the poetic designs of such subjectivity.
Acknowledging the semantics of the female body as the most contested battleground of female subject constitution, Sielke shows how a historical female subject emerges from Moore's and Rich's strategies of poetic mimicry and camouflage, and culminates in Rich's strategy of continuous re-vision. Like Dickinson, Rich creates "subjects-in-process," which, when projected as processes in history, are capably transformed from a sense of fluent subjectivity into an ethically responsible identity practice. Rich's poetics close a significant gap in French feminist theory, Sielke claims, by reconstructing the female subject as an agent of her own history.
Fashioning the Female Subject is a rereading of American women's poetry, a partial revisioning of French feminist theory, and a reassessment of Adrienne Rich as a central figure in American feminist theory. Offering a revisionary sense of literary history, Sielke's book offers a new model of literary affiliation to readers of poetry, scholars of literary history, feminist critics, and literary theorists alike.
Sabine Sielke is Assistant Professor of American Literature, John F. Kennedy-Institut, Freie Universitt Berlin.
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Adrienne Rich aesthetics aligns ambivalence American androgyny authority Bishop claimed context contrast conventional CPMM criticism cultural deconstructive desire destabilization Dickin Dickinson and Moore Dickinson's and Moore's Dickinson's poems difference discourse displaced disruption Dream echoes Emily Dickinson eternity female body female figure female subjectivity femininity feminist literary criticism feminist theory foregrounds fragmentation frequendy function gender identity practice intertextual Irigaray Irigaray's Kristeva language lesbian literary male Marianne Moore marriage maternal metaphor mimicry modernist Moore's poem Moore's poetry Moore's texts mother motherhood nature notion object original Paper Nautilus paradise paternal law poem's poetic poets political position poststructuralist preoedipal Prose psychoanalysis reading reflect relation repossess reproduce Rich Rich's essay Rich's poem Rosenbach semiotic sense of subjectivity sexual signify silence Snapshots speaker speaking Spirit of Place stanza suggests syllabic syllabic verse symbolic order textual tion traditional Transcendental Etude turns Various Scalpels voice Whereas woman women women's poetry writing