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Moving across a Century

Women’s Short Fiction from Virginia Woolf to Ali Smith

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Edited By Laura Lojo Rodriguez

The difference between modernism and postmodernism has been object to constant revision from a variety of critical perspectives. The present collection of essays on women’s short fiction tackles anew this thorny distinction from the theoretical perspective sketched by psychoanalytical philosopher Slavoj Žižek. According to Žižek, modernism hints at the incompleteness of the Symbolic Order, but does so from a separate, marginal and alternative sphere of enjoyment. Postmodernism, on the contrary, exposes the fundamental inconsistency of the Symbolic Order by giving it a central place at the very core of the text. The key distinguishing feature is the mutation of the status of paternal authority throughout a century to which modernist and postmodernist texts are responsive. Starting from this theoretical premise, this volume analyses the work of five major women practitioners of the short story – Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, Elizabeth Bowen, Angela Carter, and Ali Smith – to offer fresh critical readings of canonical pieces that exhibit either a modernist or a postmodernist sensibility. The volume has, therefore, both critical and theoretical value: it redefines Woolf ’s and Mansfield’s modernist status, the transitional character of Bowen’s short stories, and the different versions of postmodernism found in the work of Carter and Smith, while, at once, contributing to the reassessment of modernism and postmodernism from a new theoretical angle. The methodological consistency of the book – half-way between collection of essays and monograph – places it at a remove from the usual collection of critical pieces from disparate perspectives around a particular issue.

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Notes on Contributors 125

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Notes on Contributors LAURA Mª LOJO RODRÍGUEZ (ED.) is senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain). Lojo’s academic fi elds of interest comprise women’s and gender studies, literary theory, and modernist and postmodernist literature(s) in English. Lojo has widely published on these topics in peer-reviewed journals, and in a number of compilations of critical studies. Lojo is the author of Introducción a la narrativa breve de Virginia Woolf (2003), and has co-edited Writing Bonds: Irish and Galician Women Poets (2009) and Creation, Publishing, and Criticism: The Advance of Women’s Writing (2011), both published by Peter Lang. MARÍA CASADO VILLANUEVA is a stipendiary PhD candidate at the University of Santiago de Compostela and her doctoral thesis explores the relevance of fairy tale motifs in the short fi ction of Katherine Mansfi eld and D.H. Lawrence. In autumn 2011 she carried out research at the Faculty of English Language and Literature of the University of Oxford. Her research interests range widely, from fairy tale studies, short story theory, children’s literature and children in literature, to postcolonial, modernist and postmodernist fi ction. She has published in Anti-tales: The Uses of Disenchantment (Cambridge Scholars, 2011) and has recently being awarded the International Essay Prize of the Katherine Mansfi eld Society (New Zealand). JULIÁN DÍAZ MARTÍNEZ is PhD candidate in English Literature at the University of Santiago de Compostela, currently writing his thesis on Wilkie Collins. His main areas of research cover nineteenth century aestheticism,...

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