In Their groundbreaking works, avant-garde writers Daphne Marlatt and Nicole Brossard explore such questions as: What does it mean to tell a story from a woman's point of view? How have Canadian anglophone and francophone writers translated feminist literary theory into practice? In Narrative in the Feminine, Susan Knutson presents both a careful narratological reading and theoretical background to the work of these engaging writers. Susan Knutson begins her study with an analysis of the contributions made by Marlatt and Brossard to international feminist theory. Part Two presents a narratological reading of How Hug a Stone, arguing that at the deepest level of narrative, Marlatt constructs a gender-inclusive human subject that defaults not to the generic masculine but to the feminine. Part Three proposes a parallel reading of Picture Theory, Brossard's playful novel that draws us into (re-) readings of many other texts written by Brossard, Barnes, Wittig, Joyce, de Beauvoir, Homer...to name a few. Chapter 12 closes with a reflection on the expression ecriture au feminin - a Quebecois contribution to an international theoretical debate.
Readers who care about feminist writing and language theory, and students and teachers of Canadian literature and critical and queer studies, will find this book invaluable for its careful readings, its scholarly overview, and its extension of the feminist concept of the generic. Not least, the study is a guide to two important works of the leading experimental writers of Canada and Quebec, Daphne Marlatt and Nicole Brossard.
Susan Knutson is a professor of English at Universite Sainte-Anne. In her spare time she acts in Les Araignees du boui-boui.