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Fictions of Authority

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Fictions of Authority

Women Writers and Narrative Voice

Susan Sniader Lanser

304 Pages
Paperback
ISBN: 9781501728013
Cornell University Press

Drawing on narratological and feminist theory, Susan Sniader Lanser explores patterns of narration in a wide range of novels by women of England, France, and the United States from the 1740s to the present. She sheds light on the history of "voice" as a narrative strategy and as a means of attaining social power. She considers the dynamics in personal voice in authors such as Mary Shelley, Charlotte Brontë, Zora Neale Hurston, and Jamaica Kincaid. In writers who attempt a "communal voice"—including Mary Wollstonecraft, Elizabeth Gaskell, Joan Chase, and Monique Wittig—she finds innovative strategies that challenge the conventions of Western narrative.

Reviews

"Fictions of Authority is an important book, marking the coming of age of feminist studies of women and the novel. Its critical attention is fixed on the narrative form, as opposed to the representational content, of women’s novels. It takes an ambitious scope of three centuries to construct a history of the modern novel that problematizes the correspondences between women’s literary and social authority."

- Syvia Bowerbank, Studies in the Novel

About the Author

Susan Sniader Lanser is Professor Emerita of English, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Comparative Literature at Brandeis University. She is the author of The Narrative Act: Point of View in Prose Fiction and The Sexuality of History: Modernity and the Sapphic 1565–1830.

This work can be downloaded for non-commercial purposes:

Creative Commons License
Fictions of Authority is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.