Writing in subversive space: Language and the body in feminist science fiction in French and English
AuthorSauble-Otto, Lorie Gwen
Literature, Canadian (French).
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis dissertation examines the themes of subversive language and representations of the body in an eclectic selection of feminist science fiction texts in French and English from a French materialist feminist point of view. The goal of this project is to bring together the theories of French materialist feminism and the theories and fictions of feminist science fiction. Chapter One of this dissertation seeks to clarify the main concepts that form the ideological core of French materialist feminism. Theoretical writings by Monique Wittig, Christine Delphy, Colette Guillaumin, Nicole-Claude Mathieu provide the methodological base for an analysis of the oppression of women. Works by American author Suzy McKee Charnas and Quebecois author Elisabeth Vonarburg provide fictional representations of what Wittig calls "the category of sex". Imagery that destabilizes our notions about sex is studied in Angela Carter's The Passion of New Eve. French materialist feminism maintains that the oppression of women consists of an economical exploitation and a physical appropriation. The second chapter of this dissertation looks at images of women working and images of (re)production in science fiction by Quebecois authors Esher Rochon, Louky Bersianik, Elisabeth Vonarburg, and American authors Ursula Le Guin, Joanna Russ, Marge Piercy, James Tiptree, Jr., Suzy McKee Charnas and Octavia Butler. The third chapter examines the theme of justified anger, as expressed in feminist science fiction, when women become aware of their own oppression. In addition to authors already mentioned above, I take examples from works in English by Kit Reed & Suzette Haden Elgin, and in French, by Marie Darrieussecq, Joelle Wintrebert and Jacqueline Harpman. Chapter Four seeks to show the importance of the act of writing and producing a text as a recurring theme in feminist science fiction. Highlighted examples from works by many authors including Elisabeth Vonarburg and Suzette Haden Elgin are representational of what Wittig calls "the mark of gender", the use of pronouns, marked speech and linguistic experimentation and invention.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
French and Italian