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This study brings together analysis of vels by three contemporary North American women from diverse backgrounds in order to make contributions t only to gender studies, but also to narrative theory. Audrey Thomas and Daphne Marlatt are contemporary Anglo-Saxon Canadian writers whose work has been extensively analyzed within the field of feminist literary theory. Louise Erdrich is a best-selling American author of Chippewa and German-American descent. Marlatt's and Thomas's works have never been studied outside a Canadian context, and Erdrich's work has mostly been looked at in the context of ethnic women writers or Native American literature. By analyzing the works of these authors through the lenses of subjectivity, gender studies, and narratology, Caroline Rosenthal brings to light new perspectives on their writings. Although all three authors write metafictions that challenge literary realism and dominant views of gender, the forms of their counter-narratives vary. In her vel Intertidal Life, Thomas traces the disintegration of an identity through narrative devices that unearth ruptures and contradictions in stories of gender. In contrast, Marlatt, in Ana Historic, challenges the regulatory fiction of heterosexuality. She offers her protagonist a way out into a new order that breaks with the law of the father, creating a monstrous text that explores the possibilities of a lesbian identity. In her tetralogy of vels made up of Love Medicine, Tracks, The Beet Queen, and The Bingo Palace, Erdrich resists definite readings of femininity altogether. By drawing on trickster narratives, she creates an open system of gendered identities that is dynamic and unfinalizable, positing the most fragmented worldview as the most enduring. By applying gender and narrative theory to nuanced analysis of the texts, Rosenthal's study elucidates the correlation between gender identity formation and narrative. Caroline Rosenthal is assistant professor of American Studies at the University o.
CAROLINE ROSENTHAL is assistant professor of American Studies at the University of Constance, Germany.
Boydell & Brewer Ltd
Date of Publication
European Studies in North American Literature and Culture