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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 2: Figures of Narrative Subjectivity in the Works of Margit Kaffka, Emma Ritoók, Jolán Földes and Anna Lesznai


31 Chapter 2: Figures of Narrative Subjectivity in the Works of Margit Kaffka, Emma Ritoók, Jolán Földes and Anna Lesznai In this chapter, I focus on frequently used poetic tropes and approaches, and the possible reader roles inherent within, which do not pertain specifically to the per- sonalities or discourses of (feminine) narrators and (feminine) characters. They do not involve a united notion of subjectivity either, but still contribute to the decentralized feminine subjectivity and self-image emerging from the text. I also examine the ways in which female writers have contributed to literary modernity, and discuss approaches and rhetorical tropes that are able to convey the peculiari- ties of femininity. To this purpose, I have chosen to discuss a range of gendered narrative-rhetorical figures appearing in the works by women writers of the first half of the twentieth century, which allow an interpretation that foregrounds a particular feminine identity. Inspired by feminist researchers Griselda Pollock and Rita Felski, I examine instances and possible interpretations of gendered narration, such as the rhetoric of enumeration, overlapping cultural and fictional narratives, and the projection of feminine subjectivity onto objects. I also emphasize that we must take into account not only the voice, language and personality of a charac- ter or narrator when examining constructs of their (feminine) self-image, but also other signs provided by the rhetorical effects of the text. Modernization, industrialization, urbanization and demographic growth resulted in fundamental changes, not only in the economy, society, scientific thinking and the...

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