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This is a book about writing and reading. For Patricia Duncker, the art of reading remains central to her writing, and in this wide-ranging collection of essays she draws together her most urgent themes and concerns. With an emphasis on reading and sexuality that echoes concerns of contemporary literary theory, Duncker engages in a critical dialogue with the classics that haunt her own work and offers a meditation on the complexity of sexual politics and the process of writing itself. Duncker takes on the classics of European literature - from the sexual politics of Milton, to an illuminating reading of Tolstoy's "War and Peace" as historical fiction. She also discusses contemporary women's writing, including Angela Carter's "queer gothic", nationalism and Caribbean women's writing and the politics of heterosexuality in the work of Margaret Atwood and Jenny Diski.
Patricia Duncker is a Reader in English at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth where she teaches writing, and nineteenth century literature. As well as critical work, such as Sisters and Strangers: An Introduction to Contemporary Feminist Fiction, she has written several highly acclaimed works of fiction including the novel, The Deadly Space Between, which is forthcoming from Picador in 2002. She is a frequent contributor to a variety of BBC Arts programmes.