Narrative in the Feminine: Daphne Marlatt and Nicole Brossard

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Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press, May 2, 2000 - Literary Criticism - 233 pages
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What does it mean to tell a story from a woman’s point of view? How have Canadian anglophone and francophone writers translated feminist literary theory into practice?

Avant-garde writers Daphne Marlatt and Nicole Brossard answer these, and many more questions, in their two groundbreaking works, now made more accessible through the careful, narratological readings and theoretical background in Narrative in the Feminine.

Susan Knutson begins her study with an analysis of the contributions made by Marlatt and Brossard to international feminist theory. Part Two presents a narratological reading of How Hug a Stone, arguing that at the deepest level of narrative, Marlatt constructs a gender-inclusive human subject which defaults not to the generic masculine but to the feminine. Part Three proposes a parallel reading of Picture Theory, Brossard’s playful novel that draws us into (re-) readings of many other texts written by Brossard, Barnes, Wittig, Joyce, de Beauvoir, name a few. Chapter 12 closes with a reflection on the expression ’ecriture au f’eminin — a Qu’eb’ecois contribution to an international theoretical debate.

Readers who care about feminist writing and language theory, and students and teachers of Canadian literature and critical and queer studies, will find this book invaluable for its careful readings, its scholarly overview, and its extension of the feminist concept of the generic. Not least, the study is a guide to two important works of the leading experimental writers of Canada and Quebec, Daphne Marlatt and Nicole Brossard.


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A Narratological Reading of How Hug a Stone
A Narratological Reading of Picture Theory
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Page 4 - Woman must write her self: must write about women and bring women to writing, from which they have been driven away as violently as from their bodies — for the same reasons, by the same law, with the same fatal goal. Woman must put herself into the text — as into the world and into history — by her own movement.

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About the author (2000)

Susan Knutson, a professor of English at Université SainteAnne, is currently working on a history of “Carnivalesque Old Women from Antiquity to the Present.” In her spare time she acts in Les Araignées du bouiboui.