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Lecture 16

Lecture 16- New Feminist Voices : Postmodernism.docx

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McGill University
English (Arts)
ENGL 226
Kait Pinder

Lecture 16: New Feminist Voices / Postmodernism Anne Sexton • "Sylvia's Death" ◦ elegy mourning Sylvia Plath's death ◦ death is desired, becomes a fetish ◦ death is sexualized, "wear on our skinny breasts" ◦ death is a sadist ◦ gap between what language can communicate and what she feels • Question: How is emotion communicated in "Sylvia's Death?" Adrienne Rich • neatly and moderately dressed • Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution ◦ "the suppressed lesbian I had been carrying in me since adolescence began to stretch her limbs" ◦ • Postmodernism ◦ critique of binaries ◦ questioning of recorded history/myths • Aristophane's speech in Plato's Symposium ◦ "He could walk upright as men now do, backwards or forwards as he pleased, and he could also roll over and over at a great pace, turning on his four hands and four feet, eight in all, like tumblers going over and over with their legs in the air" ◦ to be one is to be two, to be joined ◦ once she gets used to her new body, she can move ◦ think of man and woman as one being ◦ yet no image of the diver returning to the surface ▪ no proper resolution • descends into the sea and into her unconscious ◦ goes back in time to a primordial past, crawling like an insect in the sea ◦ desire to see the myth itself • question history as a myth, as one that leaves some stories untold Thomas Pynchon • anticlimactic to frustrate us and our expectations of what a novel should be • most important American novelist of the second half of the 20thC • Crying of Lot 49 is classic postmodernism • no one really knows who Pynchon is Postmodernism in The Crying of Lot 49 • popular culture • metafiction: the way a novel thinks about itself as a novel and comments about itself in the novel ◦ how it reflects upon itself ◦ throws the relationship between author and reader into question ▪ intertextual references and allusions that deal explicitly with the literary-ness of the allusion ▪ explicit comments on the writing form the writer ▪ questions reader's ability to make sense of the text ▪ gives an allegory of reading by giving us an example of th
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