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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 3: Narrative Conceptions of Identity and Otherness in the Works of Contemporary Hungarian Female Writers


65 Chapter 3: Narrative Conceptions of Identity and Otherness in the Works of Contemporary Hungarian Female Writers In this chapter, I examine the manifestations of feminine subjectivity and femi- nine writing in the prose of contemporary women writers with a continued focus on how feminine prose is able to denote a strong yet fragmented subjectivity and how it is able to claim and refute the possibility of a unique feminine language – this time in contemporary Hungarian literature. In order to study feminine writing that speaks of the history of the (discursive) vulnerability of femininity, I examine literature that foregrounds the relationship of femininity and language. As I have mentioned in previous chapters, one of the most important dif- ferences between feminist criticism and postmodern theories lies in their con- ceptions of the subject; therefore, I focus on how the writing of contemporary Hungarian women writers resolves this contradiction or raises further questions. The starting point of my analysis is the claim of deconstructionist feminist criti- cism that logocentric language and thinking as well as a language culture built on dichotomies had suppressed all feminine perspectives and articulations that defined themselves outside the relationship between men and women and the oppositions pertaining to them. Following the logic of deconstruction and psy- choanalysis, theories of feminine writing (écriture feminine) in French feminist criticism have pointed out how assumptions about and discrimination towards women have become so firmly entrenched in Western thinking that we inter- nalize and reproduce the subordination of the feminine...

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