Adventures of the spirit: the older woman in the works of Doris Lessing, Margaret Atwood, and other contemporary women writers

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Ohio State University Press, 2007 - Literary Criticism - 321 pages
In Adventures of the Spirit, Phyllis Sternberg Perrakis brings together eleven American and Canadian “literary gerontologists” to examine a new kind of adventure for the older woman in literature. This volume of critical essays analyzes recent works by contemporary women writers whose characters’ midlife and later life changes are mapped in their narratives. Rather than focusing on the painful losses undergone by women of a certain age, recent narratives explore a new kind of adventure of aging, one that is spiritual in nature, enabling new ways of being and becoming, but open-ended and capable of great variation in practice. In particular, these journeys of the spirit focus on the retrospective movement undergone by a midlife or older woman as she is led by inner or outer forces to assess where she has come from and decipher a shape or pattern to her journey. These journeys do not leave the body behind as they map new spiritual territory. Rather they honor spirit’s embrace of the natural world and relationships as well as its aspirations for evolving development and eternal existence.      The essays in Adventures of the Spirit employ a wide variety of critical lenses to chart these adventures, including archetypal, Sufi, post-colonial, and feminist analysis; archival research; aboriginal life writing; and trauma theory. These studies bring a new understanding to women’s adventure of age in both literary texts and in life.    

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Contents

Spiritual Adventuring by Other Contemporary Women Writers
17
The Surfacing of Buried Grief in Doris Lessings
27
Navigating the Spiritual Cycle in Memoirs of a Survivor and Shikasta
47
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About the author (2007)

Phyllis Sternberg Perrakis is a part-time professor of English at the University of Ottawa and is a co-editor of Doris Lessing Studies.

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