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Narrative in the Feminine

Daphne Marlatt and Nicole Brossard

By Susan Knutson
Subjects Literary Criticism, Canadian Literature
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Paperback : 9780889203594, 245 pages, May 2000

Table of contents

Table of Contents for
Narrative in the Feminine: Daphne Marlatt and Nicole Brossard by Susan Knutson

List of Figures




Part One: Gender and Narrative Grammar

1. Writing Women: Some Introductory Questions

2. Theories of the (Masculine) Generic

3. Narrative, Gnosis, Cognition, Knowing: Em[+female]bodied Narrative and the Reinvention of the World

Part Two: A Narratological Reading of How Hug a Stone

4. Fabula: Beyond Quest Teleology

5. Story: Where the Body Is Written

6. Textual Subjectivity, Marlatt’s i/eye

7. Intertextual Narrative

Part Three: A Narratological Reading of Picture Theory

8. Fabula: Hologram

9. Story: The Holographic Plate

10. Text: In Which the Reader Sees a Hologram in Her Mind’s Eye

11. Intertextual Metanarrative

Part Four: Afterword

12. In the Feminine

Part Five: Bibliography, Appendix and Index


Appendix: Daphne Marlatt’s Bibliography



What does it mean to tell a story from a woman’s point of view? How have Canadian anglophone and francophone writers translated feminist literary theory into practice?

Avant-garde writers Daphne Marlatt and Nicole Brossard answer these, and many more questions, in their two groundbreaking works, now made more accessible through the careful, narratological readings and theoretical background in Narrative in the Feminine.

Susan Knutson begins her study with an analysis of the contributions made by Marlatt and Brossard to international feminist theory. Part Two presents a narratological reading of How Hug a Stone, arguing that at the deepest level of narrative, Marlatt constructs a gender-inclusive human subject which defaults not to the generic masculine but to the feminine. Part Three proposes a parallel reading of Picture Theory, Brossard’s playful novel that draws us into (re-) readings of many other texts written by Brossard, Barnes, Wittig, Joyce, de Beauvoir, Homer. name a few. Chapter 12 closes with a reflection on the expression criture au fminin — a Qubcois contribution to an international theoretical debate.

Readers who care about feminist writing and language theory, and students and teachers of Canadian literature and critical and queer studies, will find this book invaluable for its careful readings, its scholarly overview, and its extension of the feminist concept of the generic. Not least, the study is a guide to two important works of the leading experimental writers of Canada and Quebec, Daphne Marlatt and Nicole Brossard.


"Much of this book is necessarily difficult, given Knutson's subject, but the author makes every effort to be accessible, translating French quotations in footnotes and carefully defining all narratological terms. Recommended for large collections serving upper-division undergraduates through faculty. "

- T. Ware, Queen's University, Choice