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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 5: Speaking from the Margin: Gertrude Stein’s "Tender Buttons" and Agáta Gordon’s "Goat Rouge" [Kecskerúzs]

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101 Chapter 5: Speaking from the Margin: Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons and Agáta Gordon’s Goat Rouge [Kecskerúzs] The various feminist projects converge on the idea that language (understood in its widest sense, as the varied system of discourses through which the world becomes constructed) is the primary cultural agency through which the mascu- line dominates and represses the feminine. To effect a change at all, it is neces- sary to undermine language from within, or to mark the ways in which language reveals its own undermining. In much feminist thought, language is under- stood as a wholly phallogocentric and monolithic domain, which has no place for the ‘woman’ who becomes in her difference and otherness the figure for all that remains repressed and silenced (Showalter 1991: 336). In this chapter, I am analyzing another two works by women writers that foreground the issues of marginality and textuality, in other words, the issues of centered and decentered identity. They belong to different literary traditions: Gertrude Stein’s Tender But- tons to the American modernist, and Agáta Gordon’s Goat Rouge [Kecskerúzs] to the contemporary Hungarian literary context. The reason I read them together is that they both address the problem of representing female marginal positions constructed by discourse and they both question the figure of the implied reader as an united and fixed identity. Also, they are exemplary works of an experimen- talist feminine literary discourse that has a long tradition in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. As Friedman...

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