Gender and Genre in Gertrude Stein

Capa
Greenwood Press, 1998 - 145 páginas

Gertrude Stein's works encompass a variety of genres. She explicitly called many of her works plays, operas, or novels intending her works to be read with certain generic expectations in mind, be it only to have them undermined. Although many writers depart from generic norms, Stein's generic transgressions are radical and are related to gender-specific traits of her writing. This work examines Stein's questions about gender hierarchies, classifications, and categories, and brings to light the direct relationship between gender and genre in her works. Gygax looks at a number of Stein's texts, including Ida A Novel, A Circular Play, Everybody's Autobiography, The Geographical History of America, and Blood on the Dining-Room Floor, which Stein called a detective story.

Readers bring to a text a set of expectations often relating to its genre. A novel, for example, is expected to share certain features with other novels, which is why it is not considered a play. But these distinctions are difficult to make, and writers often depart from generic conventions for the sake of being innovative. Generic expectations also closely relate to gender. For example, an autobiography may be read in light of the gender of the author. Like various genres, gender brings with it certain expectations, which are largely determined by social values. Some individuals transgress the conventional bounds of gender roles, just as some works of literature go beyond traditional generic frames.

The works of Gertrude Stein typically challenge the expectations of both gender and genre. As a lesbian writer, Stein was acutely aware of society's expectations with respect to gender. And in her writings, she is clearly concerned with genre. She explicitly calls many of her works plays, operas, or novels intending them to be read with certain generic expectations in mind only to transgress traditional generic expectations. Gygax explores why Stein was inevitably confronted with questions about gender and generic categories. Including a number of Stein's theoretical statements about writing, this insightful book illuminates the relationship between gender and genre in her works.

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Conteúdo

The Deconstruction of the Family
13
A Circular Play 1920
39
The Multiple Voices of Ladies Voices 1916
47
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Sobre o autor (1998)

FRANZISKA GYGAX is Lecturer in English at the University of Basel, where she teaches courses in American literature. Her previous books include Serious Daring from Within: Female Narrative Strategies in Eudora Welty's Novels (Greenwood, 1990).

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