New Critical Perspectives
‘Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know’: The Stories of Chicago May and Eliza Lynch We need new angels for new shadows. — edwin honig Amnesia would be better But she wanted to be a lucid dreamer. — Sinéad MorrisSey Since the 1970s, women studies worldwide have given women a new vis- ibility. Received knowledge has it that female protagonists in history – be it in politics, art, culture, or any other activity deemed ‘public’ – are very few when compared with the number of male characters found in the archive.1 The explanations for this absence can be found in history; there is, however, an awareness that it also results from a process of silencing and erasure which took place over centuries and which can – and must – be amended. This invisibility has been equated with ‘irrelevance’; it has been explained as ‘natural’ and used to legitimise past and present attempts at keeping women in the position of the subaltern, playing the role of ‘the second sex’. If social and political emancipation for women goes hand in hand with visibility, it stands to reason that, in order to legitimise present aspirations and present achievements, a genealogy – or a ‘female line’ – needs to be created where it is absent or obscured; that is, it is necessary 1 ‘Archive’ is here used in the Foucaultian sense: not just a passive collection of records from the past but as an active and working system of enunciation (Foucault passim). 256 Adriana Bebiano to re-read and re-write history. Dif ferent...
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