Mothers of Invention: Feminist Authors and Experimental Fiction in France and Quebec
Mothers of Invention draws together innovative works of fiction written by French and Quebec feminists in the mid-1970s. Through an analysis of the strategies adopted by Hlne Cixous, Madeleine Gagnon, Nicole Brossard, and Jeanne Hyvrard as they rework maternal and (pro)creative metaphors and play with language and conventions of genre, Milna Santoro identifies a transatlantic community of women writers who share a subversive aesthetic that participates in, even as it transforms, the tradition of the avant-garde in twentieth-century literature. Santoro elucidates notoriously difficult works by the four "mothers of invention" studied - Cixous and Hyvrard from France, and Gagnon and Brossard from Quebec - showing how the rethinking of images associated with femininity and motherhood, a disruptive approach to language, and a subversive relation to novelistic conventions characterize these writers' search for a writing that will best express women's desires and dreams. Mothers of Invention situates such ideologically motivated textual practices within the avant-garde tradition, even as it suggests how women's experimental writings collectively transform our understanding of that tradition. Santoro makes clear the shared ethical and aesthetic commitments that nourished a transatlantic community whose contribution to mainstream literature and cultural productions, including postmodernism, is still being felt today.
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aesthetic affirmation Andre Roy articulated autres avant-garde body c'est chapter cited Cixous's contemporary context corps creative critical culture d'une daughter death Denise Boucher desire difference discourse disruptive dreams Dupre ecriture elle essay example exploration express fait female feminine feminism feminist feminist aesthetic femme fiction figure first-person French French Feminisms genre Helene Cixous identity images important inspired intertextuality invent J'ai Jacques Lacan jamais Jeanne Hyvrard jour L'Amer l'autre l'ecriture language langue Le Rire lesbian literary Livre logic Lueur Madeleine Gagnon madness male maternal meme memory metaphor Meurtritude mort mother Mothers of Invention mots n'est narrative narrator narrator's Nicole Brossard novel passage patriarchal PdeC peut phrase poetic poetry postmodern prose Prunes de Cythere qu'elle qu'il Quebec question reader references Rire scene seems seule sexual speak strategies subversive symbolic syntax Tel Quel textual theory tion tout traditional transformation translation ventre verb veux vision voice woman womb women writers words writing