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Impossible Women: Lesbian Figures and American Literature (Paperback)
  • Impossible Women: Lesbian Figures and American Literature (Paperback)
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Impossible Women: Lesbian Figures and American Literature (Paperback)

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£23.99
Paperback 208 Pages / Published: 25/04/2000
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Impossible Women fills a critical gap in queer theory by spotlighting representations of lesbian sexuality in nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature. Reading through the lens of feminist and psychoanalytic theory, Valerie Rohy considers texts by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Kate Chopin, Henry James, Zora Neale Hurston, Ernest Hemingway, and Elizabeth Bishop.Addressing American ideologies of reproduction and representation, Impossible Women suggests that lesbian figures are made to symbolize both the unrepresentable and the failures of meaning inherent in language. Rohy traces the ways lesbian sexuality-relegated to the domain of the ineffable, yet endlessly subject to inscription-appears in tropes of transference and displacement, the disembodied voice, repetition-compulsion, and the uncanny. Impossible Women also asks what cultural work such figures perform, locating lesbian desire in American literary history and engaging issues of genre and narrative, social formations such as the rhetoric of the "New Woman," and intersections of racism, sexism, and homophobia.

Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 9780801486388
Number of pages: 208
Weight: 255 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 12 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"Impossible Women brings into productive conversation two fields of scholarly inquiry often kept separate from each other: literary history (and canonicity) and feminist/lesbian criticism and politics. Impressively written and researched, it deserves the attention-and appreciation-of both fields. An engaging and important book."

-- Nicole Tonkovich, University of California, San Diego

"Impossible Women is brilliantly written and clear, a narrative intent on driving its reader to the core of arguments and to the end of the book, sure to become one of the seminal critical texts of the field."

-- Linda Wagner-Martin, Hanes Professor of English, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

"Impossible Women is ideal for Americanists looking to integrate queer studies into their teaching and study of canonical works."

-- Frann Michel, Willamette University * MFS: Modern Fiction Studies *

"Impossible Women is the first book I know that brings lesbian theory to bear on the canonical works of American literature. Finding lesbian sexuality in places we may not have thought to look for it, Rohy's wickedly clever book shows how figures of female perversity haunt our national literature. A thoughtful, articulate, and convincing book."

-- Diana Fuss, Princeton University, author of Identification Papers

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