Violence and the Female Imagination

Violence and the Female Imagination

Violence and the Female Imagination

Violence and the Female Imaginations

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Référence bibliographique [3121]

Gilbert, Paula Ruth. 2006. Violence and the Female Imagination. Montréal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Fiche synthèse

1. Objectifs

Intentions :
« [In this study of recent violent fiction by women writers of Quebec], I am interested in the literary representation of violence that women do, particularly the violence they do to others rather than to themselves. » (pp. 3-4)

Questions/Hypothèses :
« Violence, which had formely been simplistically construed as a manifestation of binary opposition—the intrusion of an external other/adversary upon the self/same—now needs to be studied more subtly as the attempt to delineate the borders that separate self from other. » (p. 3)

2. Méthode

Échantillon/Matériau :
Plusieurs romans, nouvelles et autres textes littéraires par des auteures québécoises, dont :
- Les Miroirs d’Éléonore, par Hélène Rioux;
- La Fissure, par Aline Chamberland;
- L’Obéissance, par Suzanne Jacob.

Type de traitement des données :
Analyse de contenu

3. Résumé

« [This book] consists of five chapters. Chapter 1 surveys different approaches to the causes of violence as it relates to gender, conceptualizing and theorizing from fields such as philosophy, psychology, sociology, criminology, history, political science, biology, feminist theory, and cultural studies, as these theories inform literary representations of violence and gender through language, imagery, narrative, and intertextuality. In chapter 2, I begin to discuss the complex interconnectedness of the United States and Canada, focusing primarily on the French-speaking province of Quebec. Basing some of my interpretations on comparative crime statistics, my major emphasis in this chapter is on the concepts of Americanization and américanité (’Americannes’) as they inform current discussions of Canadian cultural policies and Quebec’s self-ascribed identity as a ’nation’ in North America—often through its culture and literature. […] The major literary focus of this book occurs in its following chapters. In chapter 3, I begin by presenting theories of the sexuality and violence of female representation and of the representation of female seuxality and violence, picking up on issues raised in chapter 1 and introducing, in particular, concepts of the pornography of representation and the female grotesque. […] Finally, I discuss female literary violence—at first briefly in texts by some well known and ’older, established’ Quebec women writers; then in some powerful and disturbing contemporary texts that reflect the violent popular culture of North America; and eventually in narratives of patricide and castration. Chapters 4 and 5 focus on specific forms of female criminal activity. Chapter 4 presents a close reading of two novels of infanticide/filicide: La Fissure by Aline Chamberland and L’Obéissance by the award-winning and widely read Suzanne Jacob. […] The novels and short stories of Hélène Rioux, Anne Dandurand, and Claire Dé are at the centre of Chapter 5, where women—again frequently obsessed with popular rock music, television, news, and film—seriously fantasize about, narrate, or actually commit violent crimes and become parodic serial killers in sprees that end in real death, as they bitterly (and often humorously) make a mockery of male power and strength, and ultimately transgress all boundaries that define our genders. In concluding this book I try to understand what this representation of women imitating men, feminizing violence, or regendering violence means in our gendered cultures of violence at the turn of the millennium, and how these contemporary women writers from Quebec are attempting to re-frame such cultures. » (pp. 5-7)