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Myth and Fairy Tale in Contemporary Women's Fiction by Susan Sellers

By Susan Sellers

Lady as gorgon, girl as temptress: the classical and biblical mythology which has ruled Western pondering defines girls in a number of patriarchally encoded roles. This research addresses the wonderful patience of legendary effect in modern fiction. commencing with the query 'what is myth?', the 1st part offers a wide-ranging assessment of mythography. It strains how myths were perceived and interpreted by means of such commentators as Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Bruno Bettelheim, Roland Barthes, Jack Zipes and Marina Warner. This ends up in an exam of the position that mythic narrative performs in social and self formation, drawing at the literary, feminist and psychoanalytic theories of Julia Kristeva, Luce Irigaray, Helene Cixous and Judith Butler to delineate the ways that women's mythos can go beyond the constraints of trademarks and provides upward push to effective new types for person and cultural regeneration.
In this mild, Susan dealers deals tough new readings of a variety of modern women's fiction, together with works by way of A. S. Byatt, Angela Carter, Anne Rice, Michele Roberts, Emma Tennant and Fay Weldon. themes explored comprise fairy story as erotic fiction, new non secular writing, vampires and gender-bending, mythic moms, style fiction, the still-persuasive paradigm of female good looks, and the unconventional strength of comedy.

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Extra resources for Myth and Fairy Tale in Contemporary Women's Fiction

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She observes the disbanding of a part­ nership in favour of a dominator model throughout world mythology, and details, as an example, how in Indian iconography the infinity sign represented by two circles initially indicated equal sexual union between female and male before its meaning was altered, so that the symbol is now understood to refer to two male deities. Theories of Myth 21 This view of a shift from communities which valued and celebrated the female to societies which depended on violence and a commanding father has also been expressed by a number of male mythographers.

Feminist rewriting can thus be thought of in two categories: as an act of demolition, exposing and detonating the stories that have hampered women, and as a task of construction – of bringing into being enabling alternatives. Having drawn up some initial guidelines, we must now consider in more detail how myth can contribute to such an undertaking. Why Myth? 127 It is perhaps surprising, therefore, that the legacy of twentieth-century feminism should involve a return to tales in which violence is cele­ brated and where women are possessions to be won or disposed of.

Why Myth? 127 It is perhaps surprising, therefore, that the legacy of twentieth-century feminism should involve a return to tales in which violence is cele­ brated and where women are possessions to be won or disposed of. Do women writers retell these founding stories of Western myth in an attempt to set the record straight? Are they concerned to eradicate the distortions of patriarchy to reveal an anterior, matriarchal world-view and to create a more woman-centred account? 128 What is it that has prompted contemporary women fiction writers from Theories of Myth 31 Margaret Atwood to Jeanette Winterson to rework these ancient narratives?

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