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Open Access (free)
Gender and narrative in the postcolonial nation
Author: Elleke Boehmer

Why is the nation in a post-colonial world so often seen as a motherland? This study explores the relationship between gender icons and foundational fictions of the nation in different post-colonial spaces. The author's work on the intersections between independence, nationalism and gender has already proved canonical in the field. This book combines her keynote essays on the mother figure and the post-colonial nation with new work on male autobiography, ‘daughter’ writers, the colonial body, the trauma of the post-colony and the nation in a transnational context. Focusing on Africa as well as South Asia, and sexuality as well as gender, the author offers close readings of writers ranging from Chinua Achebe, Ben Okri and Nelson Mandela to Arundhati Roy and Yvonne Vera, shaping these into a critical engagement with theorists of the nation such as Fredric Jameson and Partha Chatterjee. Moving beyond cynical deconstructions of the post-colony, the book mounts a reassessment of the post-colonial nation as a site of potential empowerment, as a ‘paradoxical refuge’ in a globalised world. It acts on its own impassioned argument that post-colonial and nation-state studies address substantively issues hitherto raised chiefly within international feminism.

Open Access (free)
Chantal Chawaf ’s melancholic autofiction
Kathryn Robson

the male vampire story tends to involve violent seduction, the female vampire tradition is rooted in an intimacy and identification between women that is often associated with the relationship between mother and daughter; the female vampire is often portrayed as a melancholic mother figure. This is exemplified in a founding text of female vampirism, Sheridan Le Fanu’s nineteenth-century novella, Carmilla, in which the vampiric Carmilla is likened to the dead mother of the narrator, Laura.9 Although it is Laura’s mother who is dead, it is Carmilla who seems melancholic

in Women’s writing in contemporary France
Theorising the en-gendered nation
Elleke Boehmer

relationship that provides the central axis for the novel’s entire second half develops between the child of midnight, the hyper-symbolic Saleem – Hindu and Muslim, highborn yet plebian – and ‘the Widow’ of India, the Indira Gandhi surrogate. This Cruella De Vil monster, who significantly never appears in person, is determined to impose restraint upon India’s ‘teeming’ through her rapacious agent and Saleem’s rival, the castrator Shiva. Rushdie thus inflates and intentionally distorts the traditional equation of mother figure and nation, encapsulated in the novelist Bankim

in Stories of women
Siobhán McIlvanney

Maghrebi immigrants.  If the mother figure in Beur’s story is portrayed as cruelly conventional towards her daughters in her adherence to Arabic norms, she is something of a cypher in Ils disent que je suis une beurette – which can be interpreted as reflecting her submissiveness within the family unit – while in Georgette!, as in all the works, the mother’s preference is clearly for her male children.  So pronounced is that bi-cultural identity in Georgette! that Michèle Bacholle in Un passé contraignant: double bind et transculturation (Amsterdam and Atlanta GA

in Women’s writing in contemporary France
Open Access (free)
Jane Eyre in Elizabeth Stoddard’s New England
Anne-Marie Ford

Eyre, Brontë problematises femininity through images of the deadly Bertha Rochester, vessel of sexual abandon, mad and savage, while Stoddard’s buried mother-figure is Bellevue Somers, the female trapped, and made monstrous, by her own fertility. Brontë and Stoddard also engage, through their texts, in a debate on the ways in which economic power is denied to the female within a capitalist patriarchal society, during their own historical moment. In their novels they show the female as economically marginalised, oppressed by customs and institutions which deny her

in Special relationships
Gender and nationalism in the early fiction of Flora Nwapa
Elleke Boehmer

traditionally cast as the author and subject of the nation – as faithful soldier, citizen-hero and statesman. In the national family drama that has the achievement of selfhood as its denouement, it is he who is the chief actor and hero. The mother figure in this drama may be his mentor, fetish or talisman, but advice and example are taken from a heritage – an affiliative line, as Edward Said puts it – of father figures.16 In short, typically therefore, the male role in the nationalist scenario may be characterised, as throughout this book, as metonymic. Male figures are brothers

in Stories of women
Open Access (free)
Donna Beth Ellard

present, even for those who had in some ways managed to navigate or contain such feelings’; and they noted ‘feelings of anger and resentment … targeted at their mother figure’. 33 The study does not query the early childhood experiences of respondents, which may have contributed to their relationship difficulties and feelings of grief and anger as adults. Nor does it consider the respondents’ expectations of family life, mothering, and childhood, all of which are culturally and socially determined. Absent these

in Dating Beowulf
Re-examining paradigms of sibling incest
Jenny DiPlacidi

on a slightly different footing; the mother figure with which a given child identifies becomes that child’s mother and the child consequently responds to the mother figure’s kin as equally his/her own relatives. 90 According to this model, Laurette would be averse to Enrico because she has always identified Madame Chamont as her mother and, consequently, Enrico as her sibling. Alternatively, however

in Gothic incest
Open Access (free)
The adolescent girl and the nation
Elleke Boehmer

, Danielle Westerman, a literary mother figure. Thereafter, even as she herself branches into fiction, she continues with the intimate task of representing Westerman’s thoughts and sentences, ‘accommodating’ her partis pris in the ongoing translation of her memoirs (U 63, 101). Yet even if Unless takes the mother’s part, it is the sign of the daughter which is placed within a national if not transnational (or cross-cultural) dimension. As is only gradually revealed in the course of Reta’s at once troubled and curiously serene narrative, Norah was prompted to take her cryptic

in Stories of women
Father– daughter incest and the economics of exchange
Jenny DiPlacidi

opposite-sex parent who raises them in infancy and toddler-hood, there clearly needs to be an opposite-sex parent present during these developmental periods, which is not the case in many Gothic works. In addition to the lack of the appropriate family structure, authors did not often depict daughters who desire their fathers, but when/if they do, it rarely correlates to a synonymous hatred of the mother

in Gothic incest