A Dialogue of Voices: Feminist Literary Theory and Bakhtin
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A Dialogue of Voices was first published in 1994. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
The work of the Russian theorist Mikhail Bakhtin, particularly his notions of dialogics and genre, has had a substantial impact on contemporary critical practices. Until now, however, little attention has been paid to the possibilities and challenges Bakhtin presents to feminist theory, the task taken up in A Dialogue of Voices. The original essays in this book combine feminism and Bakhtin in unique ways and, by interpreting texts through these two lenses, arrive at new theoretical approaches. Together, these essays point to a new direction for feminist theory that originates in Bakhtin-one that would lead to a feminine être rather than a feminine écriture.
Focusing on feminist theorists such as Hélène Cixous, Teresa de Lauretis, Julia Kristeva, and Monique Wittig in conjunction with Bakhtin's concepts of dialogism, heteroglossia, and chronotope, the authors offer close readings of texts from a wide range of multicultural genres, including nature writing, sermon composition, nineteenth-century British women's fiction, the contemporary romance novel, Irish and French lyric poetry, and Latin American film. The result is a unique dialogue in which authors of both sexes, from several countries and different eras, speak against, for, and with one another in ways that reveal their works anew as well as the critical matrices surrounding them.
Karen Hohne is an independent scholar and artist living in Moorhead, Minnesota. Helen Wussow is an assistant professor of English at Memphis State University.
social conventions and speaks out directly and often tactlessly; in fact, his eccentricity (ec-centricity), we might argue, attracts Jane in the first place. It soon becomes obvious that Rochester belongs to the centripetal forces of language, however; despite initial appearances, he generally speaks the language of phallocentrism and patriarchy. A victim of patriarchy himself (his disastrous marriage was a result of his obedience to the system of primogeniture), Rochester has learned from his
and isabelle de courtivron. new york: schocken books, sittler, Joseph. 1961. the ecology of faith. Philadelphia: muhlenberg press, wittig, monique. 1987. across the acheron, trans, david levay. london: peter owen. yaeger, patricia. 1988. honey-mad women: emancipatory strategies in women's writing. new york: Columbia university press. Voicing Another Nature Patrick D. Murphy I Nature writing has been for some two centuries one of those "marginalized" genres of modern writing.1 Much of what has
mind a contemporary equivalent of an "epic discourse" against which Austin and all others will be measured and found wanting. Abbey's contention is not really over authorial style four score and twenty-odd years ago, but over the dictating of an official style for nature writing today, with, as Bakhtin would say, "its reliance on impersonal and sacrosanct tradition, on a commonly held evaluation and point of view —which excludes any possibility of another approach —and therefore displays a
To indicate the extent to which both of these behaviors are based in the misogyny endemic to patriarchal thought, Griffin begins each subsection of "Her Body" with an epigraph on the tortures imposed on "witches," beginning with Henri Boguet's venomous cry: "I wish they all had but one body, so that we could burn them all at once, in one fire!"50 Not surprisingly, Griffin ends with a parenthetical entry describing the surgical procedures for a hysterectomy. Book 2, "Separation," continues with
as reader. "You have read this strange and terrific story, Margaret; and do you not feel your blood congeal with horror" (209). Mrs. Saville, though a vitally important figure in Frankenstein, is not a "character" in any conventional sense; it is as a reader that she is present throughout the novel. Does Mrs. Saville, the unspeaking and unrepresented partner, the "reader" and the presumptive completer of the epistolatory dialogue, invoke the female reader of the novel Frankenstein? Perhaps we,