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Women's Writing in Western Europe

Gender, Generation and Legacy

Editor(s): Adalgisa Giorgio, Julia Waters

Book Description

Women’s writing has, in recent decades, been one of the most exciting and productive areas of literary creativity and critical analysis. Thirty years on from the initial, spectacular blossoming of women’s writing and from pioneering critical projects to (re)construct a female literary tradition, Women’s Writing in Western Europe: Gender, Generation and Legacy is the first study to investigate the legacy of this earlier generation of writers, texts and theories for contemporary women writers from across western Europe.

This important and timely book brings together original analyses by different generations of critics from around the globe, from internationally renowned feminist scholars to promising doctoral students. Their sophisticated studies uncover a complex web of explicit and implicit intertextual links between contemporary writers and such iconic figures as Aleramo, Beauvoir, Colette, Cixous, Duras, Irigaray, Kristeva, Morante, Morgner, Wolf and Woolf, so attesting to the existence of a truly international women’s culture across ever more fluid national borders.

Women’s Writing in Western Europe is a major intervention in the field of feminist literary criticism which offers new, comparative understandings of such key theoretical concepts as intertextuality, intergenerational relations, gender, identity and legacy.

“Covering an enormous range of writers and national traditions, Women’s Writing in Western Europe: Gender, Generation and Legacy attests to the vibrancy and the currency of feminist criticism and theory in the new Europe. These essays give us new paradigms to think and read with in the future.”
—Professor Marianne Hirsch, Columbia University, New York.

“Thirty years after the creative outburst of women’s writing and feminist theory of the early 1970s, can we still speak of a women’s tradition of writing, of gender and generation, of the iconic role of the mother figure? This dense and wide ranging collection of essays engages with the dynamics of legacy and conflict, of recognition and denial, to map out some of the many complex strands and relationships marking the textual relations of women’s writing across time and geographic boundaries. No simple tradition of women’s writing emerges, but the powerful hold exerted by some of the most canonical writers – Beauvoir, Woolf, Cixous, Irigaray, Kristeva, Rich – and the evidence of the construction of new relationships between and across texts by women points to a continuing network of transmission in which women’s texts are enmeshed. This is an important collection and a large readership will be grateful for this probing of issues which are at the heart of the reading of women’s writing.”
—Professor Elizabeth Fallaize, St. John’s College Oxford


ISBN-13: 978-1-8471-8165-7
ISBN-10: 1-84718-165-1
Date of Publication: 01/05/2007
Pages / Size: 460 / A5
Price: £44.99


Adalgisa Giorgio is Senior Lecturer in Italian and Director of the Centre for Women’s Studies at the University of Bath. Recent publications include the edited volumes Writing Mothers and Daughters: Renegotiating the Mother in Contemporary European Narratives by Women (2002) and (with Anna Cento Bull) Speaking Out and Silencing. Culture, Society and Politics in Italy in the 1970s (2006).

Julia Waters is Lecturer in French at the University of Reading. Her research interests are in modern and contemporary French and francophone women writers. Her publications include Intersexual Rivalry: a “Reading in Pairs” of Marguerite Duras and Alain Robbe-Grillet (2000) and Duras and Indochina: Postcolonial Perspectives (2006).