Risking Difference: Identification, Race, and Community in Contemporary Fiction and Feminism

SUNY Press
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Risking Difference revisions the dynamics of multicultural feminist community by exploring the ways that identification creates misrecognitions and misunderstandings between individuals and within communities. Drawing on Lacanian psychoanalysis, Jean Wyatt argues not only that individual psychic processes of identification influence social dynamics, but also that social discourses of race, class, and culture shape individual identifications. In addition to examining fictional narratives by Margaret Atwood, Angela Carter, Sandra Cisneros, Toni Morrison, and others, Wyatt also looks at nonfictional accounts of cross-race relations by white feminists and feminists of color.
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About the author

Jean Wyatt is Professor of English and Comparative Literary Studies at Occidental College and the author of Reconstructing Desire: The Role of the Unconscious in Women’s Reading and Writing.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Feb 29, 2012
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Pages
294
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ISBN
9780791484883
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / Feminist
Literary Criticism / Women Authors
Social Science / Women's Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Jean Wyatt
In Love and Narrative Form in Toni Morrison’s Later Novels, Jean Wyatt explores the interaction among ideas of love, narrative innovation, and reader response in Toni Morrison’s seven later novels. Love comes in a new and surprising shape in each of the later novels; for example, Love presents it as the deep friendship between little girls; in Home it acts as a disruptive force producing deep changes in subjectivity; and in Jazz it becomes something one innovates and recreates each moment—like jazz itself. Each novel’s unconventional idea of love requires a new experimental narrative form.

Wyatt analyzes the stylistic and structural innovations of each novel, showing how disturbances in narrative chronology, surprise endings, and gaps mirror the dislocated temporality and distorted emotional responses of the novels’ troubled characters and demand that the reader situate the present-day problems of the characters in relation to a traumatic African American past. The narrative surprises and gaps require the reader to become an active participant in making meaning. And the texts’ complex narrative strategies draw out the reader’s convictions about love, about gender, about race—and then prompt the reader to reexamine them, so that reading becomes an active ethical dialogue between text and reader. Wyatt uses psychoanalytic concepts to analyze Morrison’s narrative structures and how they work on readers. Love and Narrative Form devotes a chapter to each of Morrison’s later novels: Beloved, Jazz, Paradise, Love, A Mercy, Home, and God Help the Child.

Jean Wyatt
In Love and Narrative Form in Toni Morrison’s Later Novels, Jean Wyatt explores the interaction among ideas of love, narrative innovation, and reader response in Toni Morrison’s seven later novels. Love comes in a new and surprising shape in each of the later novels; for example, Love presents it as the deep friendship between little girls; in Home it acts as a disruptive force producing deep changes in subjectivity; and in Jazz it becomes something one innovates and recreates each moment—like jazz itself. Each novel’s unconventional idea of love requires a new experimental narrative form.

Wyatt analyzes the stylistic and structural innovations of each novel, showing how disturbances in narrative chronology, surprise endings, and gaps mirror the dislocated temporality and distorted emotional responses of the novels’ troubled characters and demand that the reader situate the present-day problems of the characters in relation to a traumatic African American past. The narrative surprises and gaps require the reader to become an active participant in making meaning. And the texts’ complex narrative strategies draw out the reader’s convictions about love, about gender, about race—and then prompt the reader to reexamine them, so that reading becomes an active ethical dialogue between text and reader. Wyatt uses psychoanalytic concepts to analyze Morrison’s narrative structures and how they work on readers. Love and Narrative Form devotes a chapter to each of Morrison’s later novels: Beloved, Jazz, Paradise, Love, A Mercy, Home, and God Help the Child.

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