Interpreting Women’s Lives

Interpreting Women’s Lives

Feminist Theory and Personal Narratives
Distribution: World
Publication date: 06/22/1989
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-20501-8
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Winner of Critic’s Choice Award (AESA) for 1990

... rich and thought-provoking... That kind of collaborative writing is feminist scholarship at its best, and exhaustingly difficult." —The Women’s Review of Books

A substantial contribution to women’s studies and autobiographical criticism." —Choice

... exciting.... will lead to new insight and appreciation of the variety and complexity of women’s lives." —Feminist Collections

... provocative... " —American Ethnologist

... rich in thought-provoking insights into the particular ways women have been socialized and the individual routes through which they have successfully resisted roles and paradigms of behavior inimical to the development of a robust sense of self." —Women and Language

... very fine collection of essays... " —Auto/Biography Studies

The essays deal with a fascinatingly broad palette of personal narrative types... This book is to be recommended to anyone interested in feminist research..." —Monatshefte

This groundbreaking multidisciplinary and multicultural examination of women’s oral and written documents offers rich insights into the ways that women’s voices and life stories can inform scholarly research. The book expands our understanding of both the shared experience of gender and the profound differences among women.

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Table of Contents


Part One: Origins

Origins: Personal Narratives Group

Part Two: Context

Conditions Not of Her Own Making"
Personal Narratives Group

Liberating the Subject? Autobiography and "Women’s History": A Reading of The Diaries of Hannah Cullwich
Julia Swindells

The Context of Personal Narrative: Reflections on "Not Either an Experimental Doll"—The Separate Worlds of Three South African Women
Shula Marks

Dissonance and Harmony: The Symbolic Function of Abortion in Activists’ Life Stories
Faye Ginsburg

What’s a Life Story Got to Do with It?
Karen Brodkin Sacks

Part Three: Narrative Forms

Forms That Transform
Personal Narratives Group
Gender and Narrative Form in French and German Working-Class Autobiographies
Mary Jo Maynes

Poetry and Truth: Elisa von der Recke’s Sentimental Autobiography
Katherine R. Goodman

Considering More than a Single Reader
Elizabeth Hampsten

Nineteenth-Century Black Women’s Spiritual Autobiographies: Religious Faith and Self-Empowerment
Nellie Y. McKay

Personal Narratives, Dynasties, and Women’s Campaigns: Two Examples from Africa
Marcia Wright

Transformative Subjectivity in the Writings of Christa Wolf
Sandra Frieden

Women’s Personal Narratives: Myths, Experiences, and Emotions
Luisa Passerini

Part Four: Narrator and Interpreter

Whose Voice?
Personal Narratives Group

I’d Have Been a Man": Politics and the Labor Process in Producting Personal Narratives
Marjorie Mbilinyi

What the Wind Won’t Take Away": The Genesis of Nisa—The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman
Marjorie Shostak

The Double Frame of Life History in the Work of Barbara Myerhoff
Riv-Ellen Prell

Part Five: Truths

Personal Narratives Group