Special Delivery: Epistolary Modes in Modern Fiction

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University of Chicago Press, 1992 - 278 pages
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Though letter writing is almost a lost art, twentieth-century writers have mimed the epistolary mode as a means of reevaluating the theme of love. In Special Delivery, Linda S. Kauffman places the narrative treatment of love in historical context, showing how politics, economics, and commodity culture have shaped the meaning of desire.

Kauffman first considers male writers whose works, testing the boundaries of genre and gender, imitate love letters: Viktor Shklovsky's Zoo, Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, Roland Barthes's A Lover's Discourse, and Jacques Derrida's The Post Card. She then turns to three novels by women who are more preoccupied with politics than passion: Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook, Alice Walker's The Color Purple, and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. By juxtaposing these "women's productions" with the men's "production of Woman," Special Delivery dismantles the polarities between male and female, theory and fiction, high and low culture, male critical theory, and feminist literary criticism. Kauffman demonstrates how all seven texts mercilessly expose the ideology of individualism and romantic love; each presents alternate paradigms of desire, wrested from Oedipus, grounded in history and politics, giving epistolarity a distinctively postmodern stamp.

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Table des matières

PART ONE PRODUCING WOMAN
3
THREE
74
Roland Barthess A Lovers Discourse and Jacques
81
Anna Wulfs Schizoanalysis
133
Struggles of Representation in The Color
183
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À propos de l'auteur (1992)

Linda S. Kauffman is professor of English at the University of Maryland.

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