A Good Man Is Hard to Find is Flannery O'Connor's most famous and most discussed story. O'Connor herself singled it out by making it the title piece of her first collection and the story she most often chose for readings or talks to students. It is an unforgettable tale, both riveting and comic, of the confrontation of a family with violence and sudden death. More than anything else O'Connor ever wrote, this story mixes the comedy, violence, and religious concerns that characterize her fiction.
This casebook for the story includes an introduction by the editor, a chronology of the author's life, the authoritative text of the story itself, comments and letters by O'Connor about the story, critical essays, and a bibliography. The critical essays span more than twenty years of commentary and suggest several approaches to the storyÐÐformalistic, thematic, deconstructionistÐÐ all within the grasp of the undergraduate, while the introduction also points interested students toward still other resources. Useful for both beginning and advanced students, this casebook provides an in-depth introduction to one of America's most gifted modern writers.
The contributors are Michael O. Bellamy, Hallman B. Bryant, William S. Doxey, J. Peter Dyson, Madison Jones, W. S. Marks, III, Carter Martin, William J. Scheick, Mary Jane Schenck, and J. O. Tate.
“Didion has the instincts of an exceptional reporter and the focus of a historian . . . a novelist’s appreciation of the surreal.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
Whether she’s writing about civil war in Central America, political scurrility in Washington, or the tightl -braided myths and realities of her native California, Joan Didion expresses an unblinking vision of the truth.
Vintage Didion includes three chapters from Miami; an excerpt from Salvador; and three separate essays from After Henry that cover topics from Ronald Reagan to the Central Park jogger case. Also included is “Clinton Agonistes” from Political Fictions, and “Fixed Opinions, or the Hinge of History,” a scathing analysis of the ongoing war on terror.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Boston blueblood Charlotte Vale has led an unhappy, sheltered life. Dowdy, repressed, and pushing forty, Charlotte finds salvation in the unlikely form of a nervous breakdown, placing her at a sanitarium, where she undergoes treatment to rebuild her ravaged self-esteem and uncover her true intelligence and charm.
Femmes Fatales restores to print the best of women’s writing in the classic pulp genres of the mid-20th century. From mystery to hard-boiled noir to taboo lesbian romance, these rediscovered queens of pulp offer subversive perspectives on a turbulent era. Enjoy the series: Bedelia; Bunny Lake Is Missing; By Cecile; The G-String Murders; The Girls in 3-B; Laura; The Man Who Loved His Wife; Mother Finds a Body; Now, Voyager; Return to Lesbos; Skyscraper; Stranger on Lesbos; Stella Dallas; Women's Barracks.
Ann Romines interweaves personal observation with scholarly analysis to address these questions. Writing from a feminist perspective and drawing on resources of gender studies, cultural studies, and new historicist reading, she examines both the content of the novels and the process of their creation. She explores the relationship between mother and daughter working as collaborative authors and calls into question our assumptions about plot, juvenile fiction, and constructions of gender on the nineteenth-century frontier and in the Depression years when the Little House books were written.
This is a book that will appeal both to scholars and to general readers who might welcome an engaging and accessible companion volume to the Little House novels.
—Susan Straight, author of Highwire Moon
Southland brings us a fascinating story of race, love, murder and history, against the backdrop of an ever-changing Los Angeles. A young Japanese-American woman, Jackie Ishida, is in her last semester of law school when her grandfather, Frank Sakai, dies unexpectedly. While trying to fulfill a request from his will, Jackie discovers that four African-American boys were killed in the store Frank owned during the Watts Riots of 1965. Along with James Lanier, a cousin of one of the victims, Jackie tries to piece together the story of the boys’ deaths. In the process, she unearths the long-held secrets of her family’s history.
Southland depicts a young woman in the process of learning that her own history has bestowed upon her a deep obligation to be engaged in the larger world. And in Frank Sakai and his African-American friends, it presents characters who find significant common ground in their struggles, but who also engage each other across grounds—historical and cultural—that are still very much in dispute.
Moving in and out of the past—from the internment camps of World War II, to the barley fields of the Crenshaw District in the 1930s, to the streets of Watts in the 1960s, to the night spots and garment factories of the 1990s—Southland weaves a tale of Los Angeles in all of its faces and forms.
Nina Revoyr is the author of The Necessary Hunger ("Irresistible."—Time Magazine). She was born in Japan, raised in Tokyo and Los Angeles, and is of Japanese and Polish-American descent. She lives and works in Los -Angeles.
Rebecca Mead was a young woman in an English coastal town when she first read George Eliot's Middlemarch, regarded by many as the greatest English novel. After gaining admission to Oxford, and moving to the United States to become a journalist, through several love affairs, then marriage and family, Mead read and reread Middlemarch. The novel, which Virginia Woolf famously described as "one of the few English novels written for grown-up people," offered Mead something that modern life and literature did not.
In this wise and revealing work of biography, reporting, and memoir, Rebecca Mead leads us into the life that the book made for her, as well as the many lives the novel has led since it was written. Employing a structure that deftly mirrors that of the novel, My Life in Middlemarch takes the themes of Eliot's masterpiece--the complexity of love, the meaning of marriage, the foundations of morality, and the drama of aspiration and failure--and brings them into our world. Offering both a fascinating reading of Eliot's biography and an exploration of the way aspects of Mead's life uncannily echo that of Eliot herself, My Life in Middlemarch is for every ardent lover of literature who cares about why we read books, and how they read us.
From the Hardcover edition.
Standing at the beginning of the history of modern European verse, the troubadours were the prime poets and composers of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in the South of France. No study of medieval literature is complete without an examination of the courtly love which is celebrated in the elaborately rhymed stanzas of troubadour verse, creations whose words and melodies were imitated by poets and musicians all over medieval Europe.
The words of about 2,500 troubadour songs have survived, along with 250 melodies, and all have come under intense scholarly scrutiny. This Handbook brings together the fruits of this scrutiny, giving teachers and students an overview of the fundamental issues in troubadour scholarship. All quotations are given in the original Old Occitan and in English. The editors provide a list of troubadour editions and an index, and each chapter includes a list of additional readings.
With sources as diverse as A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and Scream 2, Inventing Herself is an expansive and timely exploration of women who possess a boundless determination to alter the world by boldly experiencing love, achievement, and fame on a grand scale. These women tried to work, travel, think, love, and even die in ways that were ahead of their time. In doing so, they forged an epic history that each generation of adventurous women has rediscovered.
Focusing on paradigmatic figures ranging from Mary Wollstonecraft and Margaret Fuller to Germaine Greer and Susan Sontag, preeminent scholar Elaine Showalter uncovers common themes and patterns of these women's lives across the centuries and discovers the feminist intellectual tradition they embodied. The author brilliantly illuminates the contributions of Eleanor Marx, Zora Neale Hurston, Simone de Beauvoir, Margaret Mead, and many more.
Showalter, a highly regarded critic known for her provocative and strongly held opinions, has here established a compelling new Who's Who of women's thought. Certain to spark controversy, the omission of such feminist perennials as Susan B. Anthony, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Virginia Woolf will surprise and shock the conventional wisdom.
This is not a history of perfect women, but rather of real women, whose mistakes and even tragedies are instructive and inspiring for women today who are still trying to invent themselves.
Yellow stigmatization has had a long history: it goes back to the Middle Ages when Jews and prostitutes were forced to wear yellow signs to emphasize their marginal status. Although scholars have commented on these associations in particular contexts, Sabine Doran offers the first overarching account of how yellow connects disparate cultural phenomena, such as turn-of-the-century decadence (the "yellow nineties"), the rise of mass media ("yellow journalism"), mass immigration from Asia ("the yellow peril"), and mass stigmatization (the yellow star that Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany).
The Culture of Yellow combines cultural history with innovative readings of literary texts and visual artworks, providing a multilayered account of the unique role played by the color yellow in late nineteenth- and twentieth-century American and European culture.
Also included are contemporary works by writers such as Alice Walker and Margaret Atwood that are being incorporated into the curriculum, as well as those advancing a more global view, such as Sandra Cisneros' "House on Mango Street" and Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart." The essays are expertly written in an accessible language that will help students gain greater awareness of gender-related themes. Suggestions for classroom discussions--with selected works for further study--are incorporated into the entries. The volume is organized alphabetically by title and includes both author and subject indexes. An appendix of gender-related themes further enhances this volume's usefulness for curriculum applications and student research projects.
In 2004, with the Lees’ blessing, Mills moved into the house next door to the sisters. She spent the next eighteen months there, sharing coffee at McDonalds and trips to the Laundromat with Nelle, feeding the ducks and going out for catfish supper with the sisters, and exploring all over lower Alabama with the Lees’ inner circle of friends.
Nelle shared her love of history, literature, and the Southern way of life with Mills, as well as her keen sense of how journalism should be practiced. As the sisters decided to let Mills tell their story, Nelle helped make sure she was getting the story—and the South—right. Alice, the keeper of the Lee family history, shared the stories of their family.
The Mockingbird Next Door is the story of Mills’s friendship with the Lee sisters. It is a testament to the great intelligence, sharp wit, and tremendous storytelling power of these two women, especially that of Nelle.
Mills was given a rare opportunity to know Nelle Harper Lee, to be part of the Lees’ life in Alabama, and to hear them reflect on their upbringing, their corner of the Deep South, how To Kill a Mockingbird affected their lives, and why Nelle Harper Lee chose to never write another novel.
From the Hardcover edition.
An absorbing look at the early beginnings of one of America’s finest writers, The Mortgaged Heart is an important collection of Carson McCullers’s work, including stories, essays, articles, poems, and her writing on writing. These pieces, written mostly before McCullers was nineteen, provide invaluable insight into her life and her gifts and growth as a writer. The collection also contains the working outline of “The Mute,” which became her bestselling novel The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. As new generations of readers continue to discover her work, Carson McCullers’s celebrated place in American letters survives more surely than ever. Edited by McCullers’s sister and with a new introduction by Joyce Carol Oates, The Mortgaged Heart will be an inspiration to writers young and old.
Reading Nora Roberts shows how this remarkable author expands the limits of the genres in which she writes, exploring feminist ideas, Celtic and Western settings, psychological and religious themes, and Gothic and supernatural elements. The book also highlights Roberts's willingness to have her characters face serious real-world issues, including sexism and racism, gun violence, abortion, suicide, corporate greed, and career burnout.
Boyd confronts Nabokov's life, career, and legacy; his art, science, and thought; his subtle humor and puzzle-like storytelling; his complex psychological portraits; and his inheritance from, reworking of, or affinities with Shakespeare, Pushkin, Tolstoy, and Machado de Assis. Boyd offers new ways of reading Nabokov's best English-language work: Lolita, Pale Fire, Ada, and the unparalleled autobiography, Speak, Memory, and he discloses otherwise unknown information about the author's world. Sharing his personal reflections, Boyd recounts the adventures, hardships, and revelations of researching Nabokov's biography and his unusual finds in the archives, including materials still awaiting publication. The first to focus on Nabokov's metaphysics, Boyd in fact downplays their importance, instead emphasizing the author's humor, reinvention of narrative possibility, and psychological renderings of various characters to unlock the greater mysteries. Reading Nabokov as novelist, memoirist, poet, translator, scientist, and individual, Boyd further immortalizes his far-reaching, versatile talents.
After the birth of her first child in 2006, Turkish writer Elif Shafek suffered from postpartum depression that triggered a profound personal crisis. Infused with guilt, anxiety, and bewilderment about whether she could ever be a good mother, Shafak stopped writing and lost her faith in words altogether. In this elegantly written memoir, she retraces her journey from free-spirited, nomadic artist to dedicated by emotionally wrought mother. Identifying a constantly bickering harem of women who live inside of her, each with her own characteristics-the cynical intellectual, the goal-oriented go-getter, the practical-rational, the spiritual, the maternal, and the lustful-she craves harmony, or at least a unifying identity. As she intersperses her own experience with the lives of prominent authors such as Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Alice Walker, Ayn Rand, and Zelda Fitzgerald, Shafak looks for a solution to the inherent conflict between artistic creation and responsible parenting.
With searing emotional honesty and an incisive examination of cultural mores within patriarchal societies, Shafak has rendered an important work about literature, motherhood, and spiritual well-being.
In a culture that advocates the pursuit of endless youth and physical beauty how can we embrace the reality, the pleasures and the rewards of getting on? And what does the 'fight against ageing' mean when all women must eventually face the double-standard of ageism and sexism?
Once past fifty, older women begin to sense that they have become invisible. From the visual displays in the mall to the pages of magazines and the television screens at the heart of our homes, young women with perfect skin, bouncy, enhanced breasts, pouting lips, long straight hair and perfect teeth gaze down on us.
The ageing population is traditionally viewed as a problem; a drain on financial resources, health, housing and community services and a burden on younger generations. But living longer and living well are the triumphs of a civilised society. It is also the future that all generations want for themselves.
Can we change the conversation on ageing? Getting old is tough, but it's also an opportunity to celebrate how far we have come and to shape a different future. In this essay, Liz Byrski (author of Last Chance Café and Bad Behaviour) examines the adventure of growing old in the twenty-first century: the new possibilities, the joy and the sorrow of solitude, the reality of grief and loss and the satisfaction of having travelled so far.
"Writers like Byrski are needed not only for the clarity of their emotional intelligence but for the courage of their political convictions." West Australian
Her route takes her through the theorization of self offered by Freud and Lacan and on to the concept of subjectivity articulated by Kleinian and later object-relations psychoanalysts. She argues that much women’s writing has been inappropriately placed and interpreted within a predominantly formalist-orientated aesthetic and a post-Freudian/liberal, individualist conceptualization of subjectivity and artistic expression. This tendency has been intensified in discussions of postmodernism, and a new feminist aesthetic is thus badly needed.
In the second part of the book Patricia Waugh analyses the work of six ‘traditional’ and six ‘experimental’ writers, challenging the restrictive definitions of ‘realist’, ‘modernist’, ‘postmodernist’ in the light of the theoretical position developed in part one. Authors covered include: Woolf (viewed as a postmodernist ‘precursor’ rather than a ‘high’ modernist), Drabble, Tyler, Plath, Brookner, Paley, Lessing, Weldon, Atwood, Walker, Spark, Russ, and Piercy.
to investigate Jane Austen's popular significance today, Everybody's Jane considers why Austen matters to amateur readers, how they make use of her
novels, what they gain from visiting places associated with her, and why they
create works of fiction and nonfiction inspired by her novels and life.The voices of everyday readers emerge from
both published and unpublished sources, including interviews conducted with literary tourists and archival research into the
founding of the Jane Austen Society of North America and the exceptional Austen
collection of Alberta Hirshheimer Burke of Baltimore.Additional topics include new Austen
portraits; portrayals of Austen, and of Austen fans, in film and fiction; and
hybrid works that infuse Austen's writings with horror, erotica, or explicit
Christianity.Everybody's Jane will appeal to all those who care about Austen and will change how we think about the
importance of literature and reading today.
In her discussion of Angelou's methods of writing her stunning autobiography, which began with the 1970 publication of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Wagner-Martin writes about the influences of the Harlem Writers Group (led by James Baldwin, Paule Marshall, and John O. Killens) as well as Angelou's significant friendships with Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and other leaders from both international and African American United States cultures. Crucial concepts throughout include the role of oral traditions, of song and dance, of the spiritualism of art based on religious belief, of Angelou's voiced rhythms and her polished use of dialogue to convey more abstract "meaning.” Wagner-Martin shows that, viewing herself as a global citizen, Angelou never lost her spirit of adventure and discovery as well as her ability to overcome.
In this lively, absorbing biography, Marion Meade illuminates both the charm and the dark side of Dorothy Parker, exploring her days of wicked wittiness at the Algonquin Round Table with the likes of Robert Benchley, George Kaufman, and Harold Ross, and in Hollywood with S. J. Perelman, William Faulkner, and Lillian Hellman. At the dazzling center of it all, Meade gives us the flamboyant, self-destructive, and brilliant Dorothy Parker.
This edition features a new afterword by Marion Meade.
Placing Wilder’s life and work in historical context, and including previously unpublished material from the Wilder archives, Sallie Ketcham introduces students to domestic frontier life, the conflict between Native Americans and infringing white populations, and the West in public memory and imagination.
In presenting his arguments, Boyd shows how Nabokov designed Pale Fire for readers to make surprising discoveries on a first reading and even more surprising discoveries on subsequent readings by following carefully prepared clues within the novel. Boyd leads the reader step-by-step through the book, gradually revealing the profound relationship between Nabokov's ethics, aesthetics, epistemology, and metaphysics. If Nabokov has generously planned the novel to be accessible on a first reading and yet to incorporate successive vistas of surprise, Boyd argues, it is because he thinks a deep generosity lies behind the inexhaustibility, complexity, and mystery of the world. Boyd also shows how Nabokov's interest in discovery springs in part from his work as a scientist and scholar, and draws comparisons between the processes of readerly and scientific discovery.
This is a profound, provocative, and compelling reinterpretation of one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century.
"On the last day of December, 2009 Kate Zambreno began a blog called " Frances Farmer Is My Sister," arising from her obsession with the female modernists and her recent transplantation to Akron, Ohio, where her husband held a university job. Widely reposted, Zambreno's blog became an outlet for her highly informed and passionate rants about the fates of the modernist "wives and mistresses." In her blog entries, Zambreno reclaimed the traditionally pathologized biographies of Vivienne Eliot, Jane Bowles, Jean Rhys, and Zelda Fitzgerald: writers and artists themselves who served as male writers' muses only to end their lives silenced, erased, and institutionalized. Over the course of two years, "Frances Farmer Is My Sister "helped create a community where today's "toxic girls" could devise a new feminist discourse, writing in the margins and developing an alternative canon.
In "Heroines," Zambreno extends the polemic begun on her blog into a dazzling, original work of literary scholarship. Combing theories that have dictated what literature should be and who is allowed to write it--from T. S. Eliot's New Criticism to the writings of such mid-century intellectuals as Elizabeth Hardwick and Mary McCarthy to the occasional "girl-on-girl crime" of the Second Wave of feminism--she traces the genesis of a cultural template that consistently exiles female experience to the realm of the "minor," and diagnoses women for transgressing social bounds. "ANXIETY: When she experiences it, it's pathological," writes Zambreno. "When he does, it's existential." By advancing the Girl-As-Philosopher, Zambreno reinvents feminism for her generation while providing a model for a newly subjectivized criticism.
diasporic religious practices serves as a transgressive tool in narrative
discourses in the Americas.
Oshun’s Daughters examines
representations of African diasporic religions from novels and poems written by
women in the United States, the Spanish Caribbean, and Brazil. In spite of
differences in age, language, and nationality, these women writers all turn to
variations of traditional Yoruba religion (Santería/Regla de Ocha and
Candomblé) as a source of inspiration for creating portraits of
womanhood. Within these religious systems, binaries that dominate European
thought—man/woman, mind/body, light/dark, good/evil—do not function in the same
way, as the emphasis is not on extremes but on balancing or reconciling these
radical differences. Involvement with these African diasporic religions thus
provides alternative models of womanhood that differ substantially from those
found in dominant Western patriarchal culture, namely, that of virgin, asexual
wife/mother, and whore. Instead we find images of the sexual woman, who enjoys
her body without any sense of shame; the mother, who nurtures her children
without sacrificing herself; and the warrior woman, who actively resists demands
that she conform to one-dimensional stereotypes of womanhood.
As the Civil War raged, an unlikely friendship was born between the reclusive poet Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a literary figure who ran guns to Kansas and commanded the first Union regiment of black soldiers. When Dickinson sent Higginson four of her poems he realized he had encountered a wholly original genius; their intense correspondence continued for the next quarter century. In White Heat Brenda Wineapple tells an extraordinary story about poetry, politics, and love, one that sheds new light on her subjects and on the roiling America they shared.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Novels include: "*The Song of the Lioness Quartet *The Immortals Quartet *The Protector of the Small Quartet *The Trickster Duology *The Magic Circle Quartet *The Circle Opens Quartet *The Will of the Empress"
A lyrical, philosophical, and often explicit exploration of personal suffering and the limitations of vision and love, as refracted through the color blue. With Bluets, Maggie Nelson has entered the pantheon of brilliant lyric essayists.
Maggie Nelson is the author of numerous books of poetry and nonfiction, including Something Bright, Then Holes (Soft Skull Press, 2007) and Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions (University of Iowa Press, 2007). She lives in Los Angeles and teaches at the California Institute of the Arts.
Charlotte Brontë famously lived her entire life in an isolated parsonage on a remote English moor with a demanding father and siblings whose astonishing childhood creativity was a closely held secret. The genius of Claire Harman’s biography is that it transcends these melancholy facts to reveal a woman for whom duty and piety gave way to quiet rebellion and fierce ambition.
Drawing on letters unavailable to previous biographers, Harman depicts Charlotte’s inner life with absorbing, almost novelistic intensity. She seizes upon a moment in Charlotte’s adolescence that ignited her determination to reject poverty and obscurity: While working at a girls’ school in Brussels, Charlotte fell in love with her married professor, Constantin Heger, a man who treated her as “nothing special to him at all.” She channeled her torment into her first attempts at a novel and resolved to bring it to the world's attention.
Charlotte helped power her sisters’ work to publication, too. But Emily’s Wuthering Heights was eclipsed by Jane Eyre, which set London abuzz with speculation: Who was this fiery author demanding love and justice for her plain and insignificant heroine? Charlotte Brontë’s blazingly intelligent women brimming with hidden passions would transform English literature. And she savored her literary success even as a heartrending series of personal losses followed.
Charlotte Brontë is a groundbreaking view of the beloved writer as a young woman ahead of her time. Shaped by Charlotte’s lifelong struggle to claim love and art for herself, Harman’s richly insightful biography offers readers many of the pleasures of Brontë’s own work.
From the Hardcover edition.
In 1810, Saartjie Baartman was taken from South Africa to Europe, where she was put on display at circuses, salons, and museums and universities as the "Hottentot Venus." The subsequent legacy of representations of black women's sexuality-from Josephine Baker to Serena Williams to hip-hop and dancehall videos-continues to refer back to this persistent icon. This book analyzes the history of critical and artistic responses to this iconography by black women in contemporary photography, film, literature, music, and dance.
At a time when speculative fiction seems less and less far-fetched, Margaret Atwood lends her distinctive voice and singular point of view to the genre in a series of essays that brilliantly illuminates the essential truths about the modern world. This is an exploration of her relationship with the literary form we have come to know as "science fiction,” a relationship that has been lifelong, stretching from her days as a child reader in the 1940s, through her time as a graduate student at Harvard, where she worked on the Victorian ancestor of the form, and continuing as a writer and reviewer. This book brings together her three heretofore unpublished Ellmann Lectures from 2010: "Flying Rabbits," which begins with Atwood's early rabbit superhero creations, and goes on to speculate about masks, capes, weakling alter egos, and Things with Wings; "Burning Bushes," which follows her into Victorian otherlands and beyond; and "Dire Cartographies," which investigates Utopias and Dystopias. In Other Worlds also includes some of Atwood's key reviews and thoughts about the form. Among those writers discussed are Marge Piercy, Rider Haggard, Ursula Le Guin, Ishiguro, Bryher, Huxley, and Jonathan Swift. She elucidates the differences (as she sees them) between "science fiction" proper, and "speculative fiction," as well as between "sword and sorcery/fantasy" and "slipstream fiction." For all readers who have loved The Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake, and The Year of the Flood, In Other Worlds is a must.
Note: The electronic version of this title contains over thirty additional, illuminating eBook-exclusive illustrations by the author.
In choosing to write in rhymed octosyllabic couplets–Chrétien's prosodic pattern–Dorothy Gilbert has tried to reproduce what so often gets lost in prose or free verse translations: the precise and delicate meter; the rhyme, with its rich possibilities for emphasis, nuance, puns and jokes; and the "mantic power" implicit in proper names. The result will enable the scholar who cannot read Old French, the student of literature, and the general reader to gain a more sensitive and immediate understanding of the form and spirit of Chrétien's poetry, and to appreciate the more Chrétien's great contribution to European literature.
Feminist writers such as Mary Gordon and Alice Walker, to name only two, felt obligated to subvert literary misrepresentations of females as dimensionless, to refute preconceptions of objectified characters, and, of paramount importance, to create memorable women full of complexity and character. They wanted to create a subjective reality for their protagonists. And they succeeded admirably.
But along the road to subjectivity, that vital woman, empowered with anger, with ruthless survival instincts -- the bitch -- was banished from the pages of feminist fiction. The village gossips, calculating gold diggers, merciless backstabbers, sinful sirens, evil stepmothers, deadly daughters, twisted sisters, hags, bags, and crones -- all had vanished from the fiction written by women. Ubiquitous in other forms of media, the bitch was noticeably absent from the feminist literary canon.
Aguiar, however, points to indications in contemporary culture that the season of the bitch is fast approaching. Contemporary feminist writers and theorists are making substantial reevaluations of the archetypal bitch. Focusing on the traits and the types of guises usually associated with this vital character, Aguiar examines over one hundred and thirty examples of the bitch as rendered in a wide range of literature. She also analyzes "new" versions of thischaracter created by contemporary feminist authors and concludes that these new versions present a revised archetype: characters who are more complete, possessed of motivations, and strongly individual. Among the characters she discusses are Zenia in Margaret Atwood's The Robber Bride, Ruth Patchett in Fay Weldon's The Life and Loves of a She Devil, Sula in Toni Morrison's Sula, and Ginny in Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres.