Refiguring the father: new feminist readings of patriarchy

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Southern Illinois University Press, 1989 - Social Science - 319 pages
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An exciting investigation of the ways literary and cultural texts have not only shaped the difficult terms of the daughter-father relationship but also prescribed a role for fathers that is paradoxical and contradictory.

These 15 essays seek to enter into a new dialogue with both the tenets of patriarchy and with the "initiating symbolic gestures" of feminist discourse that have helped to maintain the father’s "voracious and hierarchical" position in western culture. The problem is not simply to change the focus of feminist inquiry from father-as-center to mother-as-center, but to reinvent the discourse of the father, to unsettle an oedipal dialectic that insists on revealing the father as the gaze, as bodilessness, or as the symbolic, and to develop a new dialectic that refuses to describe the father function as if it were univocal and ahistorical.

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Colette and the Captain
Screening the Father 39
Renegotiating the Oedipus

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About the author (1989)

Patricia Yaeger, Assistant Professor of English and of History and Literature at Harvard University is the author of Honey-Mad Women: Emancipatory Strategies in Women’s Writing.

Beth Kowaleski-Wallace is Assistant Professor of English at Simmons College.

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