Jane Gallop Duke University Press, 2002 Library of Congress PN98.W64G33 2002 | Dewey Decimal 801.9509048
"Anecdote" and "theory" have diametrically opposed connotations: humorous versus serious, specific versus general, trivial versus overarching, short versus grand. Anecdotal Theory cuts through these oppositions to produce theory with a sense of humor, theorizing which honors the uncanny detail of lived experience. Challenging academic business as usual, renowned literary scholar Jane Gallop argues that all theory is bound up with stories and urges theorists to pay attention to the "trivial," quotidian narratives that theory all too often represses.
Published during the 1990s, these essays are united through a common methodological engagement—writing that recounts a personal anecdote and then attempts to read that anecdote for the theoretical insights it affords. Gallop addresses many of the major questions of feminist theory, regularly revisiting not only ‘70s feminism, but also poststructuralism and the academy, for, as Gallop explains, the practice of anecdotal theory derives from psychoanalysis, deconstruction, and feminism. Whether addressing issues of pedagogy, the sexual position one occupies when on the academic job-market, bad-girl feminists, or the notion of sisterhood, these essays exemplify theory grappling with its own erotics, theory connected to the real. They are bold, illuminating, and—dare we say—fun.
At a time when a woman speaking before a mixed-gender audience risked acquiring the label “promiscuous,” thousands of women presented their views about social or moral issues through sentimental poetry, a blend of affect with intellect that allowed their participation in public debate. Bridging literary and rhetorical histories, traditional and semiotic interpretations, Antebellum American Women's Poetry: A Rhetoric of Sentiment explores an often overlooked, yet significant and persuasive pre–Civil War American discourse.
Considering the logos, ethos, and pathos—aims, writing personae, and audience appeal—of poems by African American abolitionist Frances Watkins Harper, working-class prophet Lydia Huntley Sigourney, and feminist socialite Julia Ward Howe, Wendy Dasler Johnson demonstrates that sentimental poetry was an inportant component of antebellum social activism. She articulates the ethos of the poems of Harper, who presents herself as a properly domestic black woman, nevertheless stepping boldly into Northern pulpits to insist slavery be abolished; the poetry of Sigourney, whose speaker is a feisty, working-class, ambiguously gendered prophet; and the works of Howe, who juggles her fame as the reformist “Battle Hymn” lyricist and motherhood of five children with an erotic Continental sentimentalism.
Antebellum American Women's Poetry makes a strong case for restoration of a compelling system of persuasion through poetry usually dismissed from studies of rhetoric. This remarkable book will change the way we think about women’s rhetoric in the nineteenth century, inviting readers to hear and respond to urgent, muffled appeals for justice in our own day.
While the later work of the great Modernist poet Marianne Moore was hugely popular during her final two decades, since her death critics have condemned it as trivial. This book challenges that assessment: with fresh readings of many of the late poems and of the iconic, cross-dressing public persona Moore developed to deliver them, Apparition of Splendor demonstrates that Moore used her late-life celebrity to activate egalitarian principles that had long animated her poetry, in daring and innovative ways. Dressed as George Washington in cape and tricorn and writing about accessible topics, she reached a wide cross-section of Americans, engaging them in consideration of what democracy means in their daily lives, around issues of gender, sexuality, racial integration, class, age, immigration, and species-ism. Her work resonates with that of her younger contemporaries, including poets like John Ashbery, Frank O’Hara, and Elizabeth Bishop, and artists like Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono, and Ray Johnson.
Arms and the Woman: Classical Tradition and Women Writers in the Venetian Renaissance by Francesca D’Alessandro Behr focuses on the classical reception in the works of female authors active in Venice during the Early Modern Age. Even in this relatively liberal city, women had restricted access to education and were subject to deep-seated cultural prejudices, but those who read and wrote were able, in part, to overcome those limitations.
In this study, Behr explores the work of Moderata Fonte and Lucrezia Marinella and demonstrates how they used knowledge of texts by Virgil, Ovid, and Aristotle to systematically reanalyze the biased patterns apparent both in the romance epic genre and contemporary society. Whereas these classical texts were normally used to bolster the belief in female inferiority and the status quo, Fonte and Marinella used them to envision societies structured according to new, egalitarian ethics. Reflecting on the humanist representation of virtue, Fonte and Marinella insisted on the importance of peace, mercy, and education for women. These authors took up the theme of the equality of genders and participated in the Renaissance querelle des femmes, promoting women’s capabilities and nature.
Artificial Generation: Photogenic French Literature and the Prehistory of Cinematic Modernity looks at nineteenth-century literary representation and film theory, arguing that the depth of amalgamation that occurred within literary representation during this era is a key aesthetic tradition that continues to inform movies and contemporary culture today. A key part of this evolution in representation, a wide-scale artistic subjectivity around the re-emergence of the “artificial woman”—a notion that harkens back to longstanding expressions of mythological masculine subjectivity through the figure of the woman, refashioning important female figures that symbolize or problematize man’s origins, including Eve and the Venus de Milo. This quest for masculine artistic subjectivity becomes a photographic and filmic drive by the turn of the century. The book explores the perpetuation of the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea in nineteenth-century literature. It then begins at the beginning of film history, with Georges Méliès in the 1890s and other “silent” filmmakers, moving through Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958) and Bladerunner 2049 (2017), analyzing these twentieth-century films to illustrate how these film texts are structured around mythic and literary principles from the prior century that serve as the basis for film as medium—a phantom form for life’s representation. The book provides a crucial reassessment of the longstanding, mutual exchange between cinematic and literary representation, offering a fresh perspective on the proto-cinematic imperative of simulation within nineteenth-century literary symbolism.