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Motherhood remains a complex and contested issue in feminist research as well as public discussion. This interdisciplinary volume explores cultural representations of motherhood in various contemporary European contexts, including France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Spain, and the UK, and it considers how such representations affect the ways in which different individuals and groups negotiate motherhood as both institution and lived experience. It has a particular focus on literature, but it also includes essays that examine representations of motherhood in philosophy, art, social policy, and film. The book’s driving contention is that, through intersecting with other fields and disciplines, literature and the study of literature have an important role to play in nuancing dialogues around motherhood, by offering challenging insights and imaginative responses to complex problems and experiences. This is demonstrated throughout the volume, which covers a range of topics including: discursive and visual depictions of pregnancy and birth; the impact of new reproductive technologies on changing family configurations; the relationship between mothering and citizenship; the shaping of policy imperatives regarding mothering and disability; and the difficult realities of miscarriage, child death, violence, and infanticide. The collection expands and complicates hegemonic notions of motherhood, as the authors map and analyse shifting conceptions of maternal subjectivity and embodiment, explore some of the constraining and/or enabling contexts in which mothering takes place, and ask searching questions about what it means to be a ‘mother’ in Europe today. It will be of interest not only to those working in gender, women’s and feminist studies, but also to scholars in literary and cultural studies, and those researching in sociology, criminology, politics, psychology, medical ethics, midwifery, and related fields.
Women's Writing in Twenty-First Century France is the first book-length publication on women-authored literature of this period, and comprises a collection of challenging critical essays that engage with the themes, trends and issues, and with the writers and their texts, of the first decade of the twenty-first century.

PART ONE: Women’s Writing in Twenty-First-Century France: Trends and Issues
1. Women’s writing in twenty-first-century France: introduction, Amaleena Damlé and Gill Rye
2. What ‘passes’?: French women writers and translation into English, Lynn Penrod
3. What women read: contemporary women’s writing and the bestseller, Diana Holmes
PART TWO: Society, Culture, Family
4. Vichy, Jews, enfants cachés: French women writers look back, Lucille Cairns
5. Wives and daughters in literary works representing the harkis, Susan Ireland
6. (Not) seeing things: Marie NDiaye, (negative) hallucination and ‘blank’ métissage, Andrew Asibong
7. Rediscovering the absent father, a question of recognition: Despentes, Tardieu, Lori Saint-Martin
8. Babykillers: Véronique Olmi and Laurence Tardieu on motherhood, Natalie Edwards
PART THREE: Body, Life, Text
9. The becoming of anorexia and text in Amélie Nothomb’s Robert des noms propres and Delphine de Vigan’s Jours sans faim, Amaleena Damlé
10. The human-animal in Ananda Devi’s texts: towards an ethics of hybridity?, Ashwiny O. Kistnareddy
11. Embodiment, environment and the re-invention of self in Nina Bouraoui’s life-writing, Helen Vassallo
12. Irreverent revelations: women’s confessional practices of the extreme contemporary, Barbara Havercroft
13. Contamination anxiety in Annie Ernaux’s twenty-first-century texts, Simon Kemp
PART FOUR: Experiments, Interfaces, Aesthetics
14. Experience and experiment in the work of Marie Darrieussecq, Helena Chadderton
15. Interfaces: verbal/visual experiment in new women’s writing in French, Shirley Jordan
16. ‘Autofiction + x = ?’: Chloé Delaume’s experimental self-representations, Deborah B. Gaensbauer
17. Beyond Antoinette Fouque (Il y a deux sexes) and beyond Virginie Despentes (King Kong théorie)? Anne Garréta’s sphinxes, Owen Heathcote
18. Amélie the aesthete: art and politics in the world of Amélie Nothomb, Anna Kemp
19. Conclusion, Amaleena Damlé and Gill Rye
Motherhood remains a complex and contested issue in feminist research as well as public discussion. This interdisciplinary volume explores cultural representations of motherhood in various contemporary European contexts, including France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Spain, and the UK, and it considers how such representations affect the ways in which different individuals and groups negotiate motherhood as both institution and lived experience. It has a particular focus on literature, but it also includes essays that examine representations of motherhood in philosophy, art, social policy, and film. The book’s driving contention is that, through intersecting with other fields and disciplines, literature and the study of literature have an important role to play in nuancing dialogues around motherhood, by offering challenging insights and imaginative responses to complex problems and experiences. This is demonstrated throughout the volume, which covers a range of topics including: discursive and visual depictions of pregnancy and birth; the impact of new reproductive technologies on changing family configurations; the relationship between mothering and citizenship; the shaping of policy imperatives regarding mothering and disability; and the difficult realities of miscarriage, child death, violence, and infanticide. The collection expands and complicates hegemonic notions of motherhood, as the authors map and analyse shifting conceptions of maternal subjectivity and embodiment, explore some of the constraining and/or enabling contexts in which mothering takes place, and ask searching questions about what it means to be a ‘mother’ in Europe today. It will be of interest not only to those working in gender, women’s and feminist studies, but also to scholars in literary and cultural studies, and those researching in sociology, criminology, politics, psychology, medical ethics, midwifery, and related fields.
Dans ce nouveau millénaire, le champ littéraire en France continue à nous offrir des écrivains et des écrivaines étincelant(e)s, qui ne craignent pas de provoquer et de prendre des risques littéraires et philosophiques. Plus que jamais, les écrivaines, qui ont longtemps lutté pour être reconnues comme artistes et penseuses égales aux hommes, se trouvent au premier plan des expérimentations littéraires contemporaines. Aventures et expériences littéraires identifie et explore les mouvements clés de l’écriture des femmes au cours de la première décennie du vingt-et-unième siècle, regardant en arrière afin de remarquer l’évolution des thèmes féminins et féministes précédents, et s’ouvrant à de nouveaux horizons et à « l’encore à venir ». Les aventures et expériences des femmes sont explorées ainsi que les parcours littéraires suivis par des écrivaines reconnues telles que Christine Angot, Nina Bouraoui, Virginie Despentes, Régine Detambel, Annie Ernaux et Marie NDiaye au côté de nouvelles voix comme Gwenaëlle Aubry, Chloé Delaume ou Sumana Sinha. Amaleena Damlé est chercheuse en études françaises à Girton College, l’Université de Cambridge. Spécialiste de la littérature et la pensée contemporaines, elle a écrit plusieurs articles ainsi qu’une monographie sur l’écriture des femmes en France. Gill Rye est professeure émérite et chercheuse associée à l’Université de Londres, Institute of Modern Languages Research, où elle est aussi la directrice du Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing. Elle a fait apparaître de nombreuses publications au sujet de l’écriture des femmes en France.
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