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Myth and Fairy Tale in Contemporary Women's Fiction

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Palgrave

Pages: 198
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Paperback - 9780333720158

31 October 2001

€34.99

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Ebook - 9781403919205

14 March 2017

€36.99

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Hardcover - 9780333720141

31 October 2001

€89.99

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Woman as gorgon, woman as temptress: the classical and biblical mythology which has dominated Western thinking defines women in a variety of patriarchally encoded roles. This study addresses the surprising persistence of...

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Woman as gorgon, woman as temptress: the classical and biblical mythology which has dominated Western thinking defines women in a variety of patriarchally encoded roles. This study addresses the surprising persistence of mythical influence in contemporary fiction. Opening with the question 'what is myth?', the first section provides a wide-ranging review of mythography. It traces how myths have been perceived and interpreted by such commentators as Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Bruno Bettelheim, Roland Barthes, Jack Zipes and Marina Warner. This leads to an examination of the role that mythic narrative plays in social and self formation, drawing on the literary, feminist and psychoanalytic theories of Julia Kristeva, Luce Irigaray, Helene Cixous and Judith Butler to delineate the ways in which women's mythos can transcend the limitations of logos and give rise to potent new models for individual and cultural regeneration.
In this light, Susan Sellers offers challenging new readings of a wide range of contemporary women's fiction, including works by A. S. Byatt, Angela Carter, Anne Rice, Michele Roberts, Emma Tennant and Fay Weldon. Topics explored include fairy tale as erotic fiction, new religious writing, vampires and gender-bending, mythic mothers, genre fiction, the still-persuasive paradigm of feminine beauty, and the radical potential of comedy.

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Provides a helpful and detailed survey of existing work on myth
Asks 'what is myth?' and examines why apparently misogynistic narratives of myth and fairytale continue to influence the works of contemporary women writers
Offers fresh readings of a range of contemporary women fiction writers across a range of genres

Preface
Acknowledgements
Contexts: Theories of Myth
The Double-Voice of Laughter: Metamorphosing Monsters and Rescripting Female Desire in A.S. Byatt's 'The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye' and Fay Weldon's The Life and Loves of a She-Devil
Re-creation in Other Love: Myth-Breaking and Myth-Making in Christine Crow's Miss X or the Wolf Woman and Helene Cixous' The Book of Promethea
Becoming Gods and Umbilical Wordbows: The New Hagiography of Michele Roberts
Unlimited Horror: Vampires, Sex-Slaves and Paragons of the Feminine in Anne Rice and Emma Tennant
Bodies of Power: Beauty Myths in Tales by Marina Warner, Emma Donoghue, Sheri S. Tepper and Alice Thompson
New Myths or Old?: Angela Carter's Mirrors and Mothers
Conclusion
Bibliography
Index.
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SUSAN SELLERS is Professor of English and Related Literature at the University of St Andrews.

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SUSAN SELLERS is Professor of English and Related Literature at the University of St Andrews.

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