Feminist Narrative and the Supernatural

The Function of Fantastic Devices in Seven Recent Novels

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About the Book

Women authors have explored fantasy fiction in ways that connect with feminist narrative theories, as examined here by Katherine J. Weese in seven modern novels. These include Margaret Atwood’s Lady Oracle, Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, the Sea, Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping, Carol Shields’s The Stone Diaries, Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible, and Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Paradise.
The fantastic devices highlight various feminist narrative concerns such as the authority of the female voice, the implications of narrative form for gender construction, revisions to traditional genre conventions by women writers, and the recovery of alternative versions of stories suppressed by dominant historical narratives. Weese also frames the fantastic elements in the scope of traditional fictional structure.
Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Katherine J. Weese is an English professor at Hampden-Sydney College. Her articles on the fantastic and feminist fiction have appeared in Journal of Narrative Theory, Modern Fiction Studies, Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts and Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction.

Bibliographic Details

Katherine J. Weese. Series Editors Donald E. Palumbo and C.W. Sullivan III
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 234
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3615-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1165-5
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      xi

Preface     1

Introduction: Theories of the Fantastic and Feminist Narrative Theory—An Intersection     5

PART I. GOTHIC FICTIONS AND THE FANTASTIC

1. The Novel Weapon: Gender and Genre in Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, the Sea      31

2. From “The Lady of Shalott” to “Lady Lazarus”: Margaret Atwood’s Lady Oracle      48

PART II. GHOSTLY NARRATORS AND NARRATIVE VOICE

3. Narration from Beyond the Grave in Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping      71

4. The “Invisible” Woman: Narrative Strategies in Carol Shields’s The Stone Diaries      87

PART III. THE HISTORICAL NOVEL AND THE FANTASTIC

5. “The Eyes in the Trees”: Transculturation and Magic Realism in Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible      109

6. Telling Beloved’s Story      125

7. The Gospel According to Consolata: Alternative Christianities and Toni Morrison’s Paradise      146

Chapter Notes      175

Bibliography      203

Index      217

Book Reviews & Awards

“fascinating…well worth reading”—Science Fiction Studies.