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Postmodern Utopias and Feminist Fictions


  • Date Published: November 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107038356

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About the Authors
  • This study examines feminist speculative fiction from the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, and finds within it a new vision for the future. Rejecting notions of postmodern utopia as exclusionary, Jennifer A. Wagner-Lawlor advances one defined in terms of hospitality, casting what she calls 'imaginative sympathy' as the foundation of utopian desire. Tracing these themes through the works of Atwood, Butler, Lessing and Winterson, as well as those of well-known Muslim feminists such as El Saadawi, Parsipur and Mernissi, Wagner-Lawlor balances literary analysis with innovative extensions of feminist philosophy to show how inclusionary utopian thinking can inform and promote political agency. Examining these contemporary fictions reveals the rewards of attending to a community that acknowledges difference, diversity and the imaginative potential of every human being.

    • Introduces an innovative conception of utopia as hospitality while exploring the relationship of utopia to contemporary interests in cosmpolitanism and art
    • Features the first extended comparative study in English of utopian concepts and/in speculative narratives by Muslim and Arab women authors
    • Puts forward a powerful and nuanced defence of the arts and of imagination in terms of their ability to conceive of humane living differently
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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2013
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107038356
    • length: 250 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: portals of possibility: speculative standpoint and feminist intervention
    1. Learning the way of the world, and beyond: utopian imperatives and the female bildungsroman
    2. 'With no guarantees, of course': the art of the possible
    3. Archives of the heart: inventing history at the edge(s) of time
    4. Always coming home, in America: enacting the romance of community
    5. Looking east for news from nowhere: feminist mobility in Muslim women's speculative writing
    Conclusion: being at home somewhere

  • Author

    Jennifer A. Wagner-Lawlor, Pennsylvania State University
    Jennifer A. Wagner-Lawlor is an associate professor of Women's Studies and English at Penn State University. She is author/editor of four books, the most recent of which are this volume, and The Scandal of Susan Sontag (co-edited with Barbara Ching, 2009). She has published numerous articles on nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature.

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