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Gendered Narrative Subjectivity

Some Hungarian and American Women Writers

Edit Zsadányi

This book wants to make Hungarian women writers accessible to an English-speaking public and presents interpretations of Hungarian and American literary texts by writers such as Margit Kaffka, Anna Lesznai, Jolán Földes, Zsuzsa Rakovszky, Agáta Gordon, Virág Erdős, Zsuzsa Forgács, Alaine Polcz, Gertrude Stein, Kathy Acker and Jhumpa Lahiri. In literary narratives it is possible to represent female political interests in a decentered narrative subjectivity. The book illustrates that literary narratives readily accept the contradictory nature of identity issues and create an exciting and complex network of articulating female voices.

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Chapter 1: Subjectivity, Narrativity and Gender Identity

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13 Chapter 1: Subjectivity, Narrativity and Gender Identity In the last few decades, humanist conceptions of the subject that promoted the idea of a self-identical, united and autonomous individual have been questioned from a variety of perspectives by different theories. These theories share the same premise of assuming a linguistically and culturally constructed subject, such as poststructuralist theories which speak of the constructive nature of identity cat- egories and an inherently, ideologically and textually determined decentered subject. These theories also highlight different aspects of the latter. For instance, psychoanalytical approaches call attention to the operation of unconscious de- sires that strongly influence human thought processes and action, inevitably resulting in contradictions, while philosophical hermeneutics talks of the prec- edence of language and the universal nature of linguistic world-experience. Cultural-philosophical theories emphasize that not only are human thought processes the products of ideologies and prevalent discourses, but also that even the most contradictory concepts may coexist in human cognition. In her book The Posthuman, Rosi Braidotti sees posthuman theories as a further development after the postmodern views. The notion of the posthuman seems to her the most adequate concept for coming to terms with our globally linked and technologically mediated societies. She considers the theoretical ten- dencies after postmodernism and poststructuralism and creates an itinary in the intellectual development that leads from humanism through antihumanism to posthumanism. In her view, the poststructuralist continental philosophers, the feminist and the postcolonial thinkers can be considered as representing the an- ti-humanist turn, in which...

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