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Gender and narrative in the postcolonial nation

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.

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Chantal Chawaf ’s melancholic autofiction

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
Consumerism and alienation in 1950s comedies

insurance, ‘nobody wants the money back’) is thwarted because Mrs Wilberforce has become the mother figure, acting as a conduit for the family-unit model of ideological indoctrination. Reading her as a mother figure requires a psychoanalytical interpretation of the film, in part inspired by its source material in a dream by writer William Rose. Called ‘Mum’ by most characters

in British cinema of the 1950s
Theorising the en-gendered nation

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

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
Gender and nationalism in the early fiction of Flora Nwapa

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
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Jane Eyre in Elizabeth Stoddard’s New England

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
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Films of re-enactment in the post-war period

on everyday subsistence processes and domestic activities at each camp. With a high school audience in mind, there is also a strong emphasis on the life of children, notably on their play and on their relationship with their parents, particularly with their mothers ( figure 3.1 ). Apart from a relatively brief sequence of drumming in the last 10 minutes of the last film in the series, At the Winter Sea Ice Camp , there is no reference to ceremonial life, nor to rites of passage or shamanistic religious practices

in Beyond observation
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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
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The ‘pathology’ of childhood in late nineteenth-century London

Despite no actual harm coming to the child, this danger was perceived to be ever present in homes of the poor, especially when there was no mother figure available to prevent potentially abusive behaviour. The perceived unsuitability of working-class homes for young children is further evident in the case of Minnie K. who was aged just two, and diagnosed with a curvature of the spine, when she came under the care of the Waifs and Strays Society in 1890. 41 Twelve years later, in 1902, her mother wrote

in Progress and pathology