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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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In this book, my aim was to demonstrate how contemporary feminine prose manages to articulate interest-oriented humanistic perspectives and their anti- humanistic counterperspectives simultaneously in a variety of ways and represent the issues of femininity and decentered subjectivity at the same time while also calling attention to the fact that the constructions of identity examined in the cho- sen texts cannot even be imagined without these apparent contradictions. Indeed, the close relationship of feminine self-identity and works written by feminine au- thors lies in the fact that the articulation of the feminine self often goes hand in hand with denoting the difficulties inherent in language. The conclusions of the analytical chapters clearly indicate that despite the attempts to call the separabil- ity of philosophy and literature into question, theoretical approaches cannot be mapped perfectly onto literary language, nor can theoretical positions be closely associated with the tropes of contemporary prose. My analysis also attempted to show the astounding diversity and multitude of possibilities inherent in poetic language plays that involve the reader and repeatedly ask the question of ‘who am I as a woman?’, thereby multiplying the scope of theoretical inquiry. The ‘unreadable’ novels of Gertrude Stein offer the reader the role of the sub- ordinate communication partner to enact and cause the reader to act out a role that is clearly located in the communicative space yet is incapable of articulation. It is only from such an interpretive position that a unique intermediary subjec- tivity can emerge, a...

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