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TitleModelling female identities : the power of patriarchal discourse in literary narratives
Author(s)Pereira, Margarida Esteves
A. S. Byatt
Zadie Smith
Issue dateNov-2007
PublisherUniversidade do Minho. Centro de Estudos Humanísticos (CEHUM)
Abstract(s)In her longer essays on women, such as A Room of One’s Own or Three Guineas, Virginia Woolf draws our attention to the way women have always been defined by men, for no woman, as it is stated in another essay (“Professions for Women” (1931)) had told “the truth about [her] own experiences as a body (…)”. This is indicative of the way stereotypes have been maintained thoughout history, helping to model a certain idea of female identity. This paper aims to look at two contemporary narratives written by women (Zadie Smith and A. S. Byatt), where this idea is conveyed. For example, in Still Life, by A. S. Byatt, the main character is said to be possessed by “imposing tags” (which are taken from literary examples) that influence the way she sees herself as a woman. The paper will try to discuss the ways contemporary women writers respond to and defy the stereotypes of femininity conveyed in canonical narratives by engaging in an intertextual dialogue with those texts.
TypeBook part
AccessOpen access
Appears in Collections:CEHUM - Livros e Capítulos de Livros

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