By Susan Sellers
Lady as gorgon, lady as temptress: the classical and biblical mythology which has ruled Western considering defines girls in a number of patriarchally encoded roles. This learn addresses the extraordinary endurance of legendary impression in modern fiction. starting with the query 'what is myth?', the 1st part presents a wide-ranging assessment of mythography. It lines 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 results in an exam of the function 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 emblems and provides upward push to powerful new versions for person and cultural regeneration.
In this gentle, Susan deals tough new readings of a variety of modern women's fiction, together with works via A. S. Byatt, Angela Carter, Anne Rice, Michele Roberts, Emma Tennant and Fay Weldon. themes explored contain fairy story as erotic fiction, new spiritual writing, vampires and gender-bending, mythic moms, style fiction, the still-persuasive paradigm of female attractiveness, and the novel strength of comedy.
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Additional info for Myth and Fairy Tale in Contemporary Women's Fiction
A further reason for the continuing potency of myth is the way the tales have been refined over centuries of telling. 135 What we write as individuals cannot so easily achieve this resonance. We need to deploy myth’s power, weaving our own versions onto its potent templates to attain the maximum effect. 136 Roland Barthes’ work on mythology similarly uncovers an answer. 137 Barthes suggests that the way myth creates its meaning makes it difficult to refute its power: once we have received the myth its impact cannot be erased by explanation or qualification.
The double momentum of security and innovation similarly mirrors Kristeva’s strategies for dissident writing, since it provides a context within which we can rend and renew our relation to the established order: prompting us to reject what unfairly binds us while reaffirming our allegiance to what is productive. As Kristeva points out, we must adopt the social-symbolic code in order to function, and our revolts will be fruitless unless they occur within it in ways that can be under stood. 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.
If we adopt Kristeva’s richly suggestive stance, how can our corporeal drives find expression in a mode of narration from which the personal has been successively erased? The difficulties confronting the feminist rewriter appear immense. 114 If Diane Purkiss is right, and altering internal patterns or attempting to express silenced or marginal voices leaves the central discourse invio late, does it follow that feminists must begin again, from a place outside myth? Yet if we do this, we not only vacate the arena to allow myth’s power to continue unimpeded, we also deprive ourselves of its undeni able force.
Myth and Fairy Tale in Contemporary Women's Fiction by Susan Sellers