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Bearing Liminality, Laboring White Ink

Pregnancy and Childbirth in Women's Literature


Francisco José Cortés Vieco

Literature has been a bastion of male creativity, not of female procreativity, which has traditionally inhibited the voices of women and disempowered their self-expression. This book explores the underestimated legacy of women’s fiction and (semi-)autobiographical works about pregnancy and childbirth in Great Britain and North America during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, highlighting the symbiosis between the processes of childbearing and writing, problematizing female subjugation to the patriarchal institution of motherhood, and compensating for the silence around the experience of becoming a mother in literature.

Drawing on the anthropological concept of liminality, controversies about maternity within women’s liberation movements, and milestones in French feminist theory, this book discusses pregnancy and childbirth as transformative events that can engender both women’s imaginative responses to procreation and re-creations of memories about their prenatal/natal episodes, as well as therapeutic narratives of self-discovery and recovery from pain. Examining the works of authors such as Mary Shelley, Emily Brontë, Jean Rhys, Anaïs Nin, Margaret Drabble, and Toni Morrison, this book posits a literary corpus of procreativity, written by women with an empowering white ink to defend their (un)maternal freedom and (life-)writings.

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Series Index


Cultural Identity Studies

Edited byCarmen Zamorano Llena, Billy Gray and Jonas Stier

This series publishes new research into relationships and interactions between culture and identity, broadly conceived. Studies relating to intercultural or transcultural identities are particularly welcome, as the series is the publishing project of the Intercultural Studies research group at Dalarna University, Sweden. The series embraces research into the roles of linguistic, social, political, psychological, literary, audiovisual, religious and/or cultural aspects in the processes of individual and collective identity formation. Given the nature of the field, interdisciplinary and theoretically diverse approaches are encouraged. Work on the theorizing of cultural aspects of identity formation and case studies of individual writers, thinkers and/or cultural products will be included. The series welcomes intercultural, transcultural and transnational links and comparisons worldwide.


Vol.  1Helen Chambers (ed.)Violence, Culture and Identity: Essays on German andAustrian Literature, Politics and Society. 436 pages. 2006.ISBN 3-03910-266-4 / US-ISBN 0-8204-7195-X

Vol.  2Heather WilliamsPostcolonial Brittany: Literature between Languages. 191 pages. 2007.ISBN 978-3-03-910556-4 / US-ISBN 978-0-8204-7583-7

Vol.  3Andrew Hiscock (ed.)Mighty Europe 1400–1700: Writing an Early Modern Continent.240 pages. 2007.ISBN 978-3-03911-074-2

Vol.  4Marie-Claire PatronCulture and Identity in Study Abroad Contexts: After Australia,French without France. 332 pages. 2007.ISBN 978-3-03911-082-7

Vol.  5Henriëtte LouwerseHomeless Entertainment: On Hafid Bouazza’s Literary Writing.252 pages. 2007.ISBN 978-3-03911-333-0

Vol.  6Robbie AitkenExclusion and Inclusion, Gradations of Whiteness and Socio-Economic Engineering in German Southwest Africa, 1884-1914.265 pages. 2007.ISBN 978-3-03911-060-5

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