French Women Novelists: Defining a Female Style by Adele King

By Adele King

A examine of a feminine kind of writing. French, English and American theories of ways women's inventive mind's eye and use of language may well vary from traditional literary norms are tested when it comes to the paintings of 5 of the easiest twentieth century French ladies writers.

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79). The description might be compared to Chodorow's idea of women having more permeable ego boundaries, not in this case because of being raised by mothers but because of being mothers. It differs, however, from Kristeva's more theoretical consideration of motherhood as a relationship of semiotic and symbolic between mother and child. For Leclerc, it is a purely personal experience of joy, having nothing to do with the child. Leclerc also considers, rather as Irigaray does, the equation of sight with male domination of the world.

119) Virginia Woolf's speculations about a 'woman's sentence' or Helene Cixous's descriptions of l'ecriture feminine constitute only one area of enquiry into the possible specificity of women's novels. The use of distinctly feminine themes is another obvious possibility. The mixing of traditional types of novel as they have been defined by a predominantly male literary theory is still another. Could comments about female/male perception of time (linear or cyclical), or about a vision/touch dichotomy be relevant to the structure, the imagery, the narrative point of view, the characterisations of the woman's novel, if such a thing exists?

Writing the body' is a development from Leclerc, but especially from the work of Helene Cixous, whose conception of l'ecriture feminine aims at undoing the Lacanian notion that woman enters language through a lack or negativity. For Lacan, human subjectivity is organised in relation to language. As a result of the castration complex, the child no longer exists in the order of the Imaginary, Theories of Language 33 where it perceives no incompleteness and is in close relation to the mother. Rather, the child enters into the Symbolic, which is dominated by the phallus, the law of patriarchy.

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