Helen Tookey presents a new study of Anais Nin (1903-77), focusing both on the cultural and historical contexts in which her work was produced and received, and on the different versions of Nin herself - as a modernist, a woman writer, a public (and controversial) figure in the women'sliberation movement, and as a set of conflicting and often extreme representations of femininity. The author shows how contextual feminist approaches shed light on Nin (who moved from Paris modernism of the 1930s to US second-wave feminism of the 1970s), and how this sheds light on key issues andconflicts within feminist thinking since the 1970s, particularly questions of identity, femininity, and psychoanalysis. Anais Nin: Fictionality and Femininity provides new readings of Nin through contemporary feminist approaches, using Nin to make an intervention into critical debates aroundmodernism, feminism, and psychoanalysis, writing and identity, fictionality and femininity.
Anaïs Nin: A Myth of Her Own traces Nin’s literary craft by following the intimacy of self-exploration and poetic expression attained in the details of the quotidian, transfigured into fiction. By digging into the mythic tropes that permeate both her literary diaries and fiction, this book demonstrates that Nin constructed a mythic method of her own, revealing the extensive possibilities of an opulent feminine psyche. Clara Oropeza demonstrates that the literary diary, for Nin, is a genre that with its traces of trickster archetype, among others, reveals a mercurial, yet particular understanding of an embodied and at times mystical experience of a writer. The cogent analysis of Nin’s fiction alongside the posthumously published unexpurgated diaries, within the backdrop of emerging psychological theories, further illuminates Nin’s contributions as an experimental and important modernist writer whose daring and poetic voice has not been fully appreciated. By extending research on diary writing and anchoring Nin’s literary style within modernist traditions, this book contributes to the redefinition of what literary modernism was comprised, who participated and how it was defined. Anaïs Nin: A Myth of Her Own is unique in its interdisciplinary expansion of literature, literary theory, mythological studies and depth psychology. By considering the ecocritical aspects of Nin’s writing, this book forges a new paradigm for not only Nin’s work, but for critical discussions of self-life writing as a valid epistemological and aesthetic form. This impressive work will be of great interest to academics and students of Jungian and post-Jungian studies, literary studies, cultural studies, mythological studies and women’s studies.
Anaïs Nin, the diarist, novelist, and provocateur, occupied a singular space in twentieth-century culture, not only as a literary figure and voice of female sexual liberation but as a celebrity and symbol of shifting social mores in postwar America. Before Madonna and her many imitators, there was Nin; yet, until now, there has been no major study of Nin as a celebrity figure. In Writing an Icon, Anita Jarczok reveals how Nin carefully crafted her literary and public personae, which she rewrote and restyled to suit her needs and desires. When the first volume of her diary was published in 1966, Nin became a celebrity, notorious beyond the artistic and literary circles in which she previously had operated. Jarczok examines the ways in which the American media appropriated and deconstructed Nin and analyzes the influence of Nin’s guiding hand in their construction of her public persona. The key to understanding Nin’s celebrity in its shifting forms, Jarczok contends, is the Diary itself, the principal vehicle through which her image has been mediated. Combining the perspectives of narrative and cultural studies, Jarczok traces the trajectory of Nin’s celebrity, the reception of her writings. The result is an innovative investigation of the dynamic relationships of Nin’s writing, identity, public image, and consumer culture.
This book situates the single woman within the evolving landscape of modernity, examining how she negotiated rural and urban worlds, explored domestic and bohemian roles, and traversed public and private spheres. In the modern era, the single woman was both celebrated and derided for refusing to conform to societal expectations regarding femininity and sexuality. The different versions of single women presented in cultural narratives of this period—including the old maid, odd woman, New Woman, spinster, and flapper—were all sexually suspicious. The single woman, however, was really an amorphous figure who defied straightforward categorization. Emma Sterry explores depictions of such single women in transatlantic women’s fiction of the 1920s to 1940s. Including a diverse selection of renowned and forgotten writers, such as Djuna Barnes, Rosamond Lehmann, Ngaio Marsh, and Eliot Bliss, this book argues that the single woman embodies the tensions between tradition and progress in both middlebrow and modernist literary culture.
Masquerade and Femininity: Essays on Russian and Polish Women Writers introduces the reader to the diversity of women’s writing in Poland and Russia in the 19th and 20th centuries in the light of the notion of masquerade. The present articles scrutinize particular works by women writers (Nadezhda Dmitrievna Khvoshchinskaia, Irina Odoevtseva, Vera Pavlova, Narcyza Żmichowska, Maria Komornicka, Irena Krzywicka and others) and the strategies of masquerading female experience. Taken together, the articles draw attention to the feeling of an inexpressible gap between the living body (and its everyday life experience of pain and suffering or happiness and pleasure) and the culturally constructed, powerfully imposed code of expression that readily makes use of various masks, guises and acts of pretending, applied especially cleverly in literary works. The concept of masquerade illuminates the complexity of what we call “femininity” by combining two sides of the divide: the real feelings and the constructed expressions. This volume uses both feminist and non-feminist approaches to women’s writing and sheds new light on the themes of femininity, woman’s identity, experience, masks, body, gender relations, nature, culture and authorship. Masquerade and Femininity brings together East European literary studies and gender studies, offering a comparative perspective on literature, literary theory and cultural phenomena in Poland and Russia, and featuring a range of both eastern European and western scholars. In its pages, the reader is invited to move beyond Russian literature and language into a dialogic approach between Slavic literatures. This book will also contribute to filling the comparative gap which is still relatively unexplored not only with regard to the application of western scholarship to East European studies, but also with regard to the dialogue between Russian and Polish scholarship.
The phrase 'cinematic fiction' has now been generally accepted into critical discourse, but is usually applied to post-war novels. This book asks a simple question: given their fascination with the new medium of film, did American novelists attempt to apply cinematic methods in their own writings? From its very beginnings the cinema has played a special role in defining American culture. Covering the period from the 1910s up to the Second World War, Cinematic Fictions offers new insights into classics like The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath discussing major writers' critical writings on film and active participation in film-making. Cinematic Fictions is also careful not to portray 'cinema' as a single or stable entity. Some novelists drew on silent film; others looked to the Russian theorists for inspiration; and yet others turned to continental film-makers rather than to Hollywood. Film itself was constantly evolving during the first decades of the twentieth century and the writers discussed here engaged in a kind of dialogue with the new medium, selectively pursuing strategies of montage, limited point of view and scenic composition towards their different ends. Contrasting a diverse range of cinematic and literary movements, this will be compulsory reading for scholars of American literature and film.
At first glance, the works of Fedor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) do not appear to have much in common with those of the controversial American writer Henry Miller (1891-1980). However, the influencer of Dostoevsky on Miller was, in fact, enormous and shaped the latter's view of the world, of literature, and of his own writing. The Making of a Counter-Culture Icon examines the obsession that Miller and his contemporaries, the so-called Villa Seurat circle, had with Dostoevsky, and the impact that this obsession had on their own work. Renowned for his psychological treatment of characters, Dostoevsky became a model for Miller, Lawrence Durrell, and Anais Nin, interested as they were in developing a new kind of writing that would move beyond staid literary conventions. Maria Bloshteyn argues that, as Dostoevsky was concerned with representing the individual's perception of the self and the world, he became an archetype for Miller and the other members of the Villa Seurat circle, writers who were interested in precise psychological characterizations as well as intriguing narratives. Tracing the cross-cultural appropriation and (mis)interpretation of Dostoevsky's methods and philosophies by Miller, Durrell, and Nin, The Making of a Counter-Culture Icon gives invaluable insight into the early careers of the Villa Seurat writers and testifies to Dostoevsky's influence on twentieth-century literature.
This book is concerned with the figure of the female performer in nineteenth-century fiction. It explores the attitudes of Henry James, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Emile Zola towards women’s appearances on political daises and theatrical stages. Literature as a cultural force can either boost women’s participation in public life or bolster the patriarchal ideology. The book verifies Henry James’s feminist ideology that lies behind the positive representation of women’s political activism and acting, as two different modes of performance, through a comparative study between him and two of his contemporary novelists. It reflects the clash of opinions among nineteenth-century American and French authors on the issue of women’s public manifestation as caught between the spectacular and the political. While some writers have deemed it an exhibitionist demeanour, others have considered it a commitment to the feminist project. The first section shows how a feminist reading in the history of European and American female performers as emerging figures in the nineteenth century can help to understand the position of the figure in the literary works of the period. Nathaniel Hawthorne is shown to be an author who holds the same feminist temperament as James through his portrayal of a talented political rhetorician in his novel The Blithedale Romance, which is compared to James’s The Bostonians in the second section. The final part conducts a study in contrasts between James’s supportive rendering of the actress in The Tragic Muse and Emile Zola’s derogatory stereotyping of the female performer as a prostitute in his novel Nana.