Feminist Dialogics: A Theory of Failed Community

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SUNY Press, 1 janv. 1988 - 204 pages
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Feminist Dialogics examines the structure of four novels (Hawthorne's The Blithedale Romance, James's The Golden Bowl, Wharton's The House of Mirth and Chopin's The Awakening) through the lens of Mikhail Bakhtin's critical framework. The author draws on Bakhtin's notion of heteroglossia to show how the interaction of many voices forms the social community of the novel and how the functioning of these voices makes clear statements about the position and fate of women in these specific societies. The novels present dialogic situations in which the women misinterpret their social texts and, therefore, fail to understand their own social power. The four works considered in this study represent the struggle for women's construction of self within a dialogic structure of many competing voices.

Bauer introduces and enters into dialogue with other theorists who are concerned with the social implications of reading and interpretation, including Rene Girard, Wolfgang Iser, Sandra Gilbert, and Susan Gubar, as well as other American feminists. The recurring theme in the novels of this study is the exclusion and rivalry of discourse: the competition among characters for authoritative and interpretive power. Each voice in the novel is a thematization of an ideological perspective and, as such, competes for domination. The conspiracy of voices to exclude the female reflects the social reality as well. This work is an important contribution to literary criticism and feminist theory.

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Table des matières

A Counterfeit Aracadia
17
Reading Coverdales Romance
24
Coverdale and Surveillance
31
Zenobias Carnival
38
Zenobias Muscular Feminism
44
A Matter of Interpretation
51
The Failure of the Republic
89
Kate Chopins The Awakening
129
Postscript
159
Notes
171
Index
199
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À propos de l'auteur (1988)

Dale M. Bauer is Assistant Professor of English at Miami University.

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