All Contraries Confounded

All Contraries Confounded

The Lyrical Fiction of Virginia Woolf, Djuna Barnes, and Marguerite Duras

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184 pages

"Cartographer of ambivalence, Karen Kaivola complements many other feminist voices in the ongoing revision of Modernism. She maps new territory in feminist representations of sexual difference by exploring in the writings of Woolf, Barnes, and Duras both the critique of, as well as the collusion with, oppressive cultural structures."—Mary Lynn Broe

"Her parallel readings of Lacan and Foucault, in their own radical undermining of traditional identities and interpretations, and her demonstration of the ways in which they must be re-read from a feminist point of view, bring her text into that arena in which we are all battling, at our best. Within and without, she shows, are essentially linked in the female experience molded by culture and resistant to it: this text is itself aware, is itself not without ideology, nor is its stance only outside."—Mary Ann Caws

This insightful volume extends feminist critical studies of twentieth-century women writers as it examines the complex ways female subjectivity experiences and is shaped by gender and power in literary texts. Because of the ways ambivalence and contradiction operate in the works of Woolf, Barnes, and Duras, to read them is to able to interrogate and thus more fully understand the ways our own subjectivity are constructed in relation to complex configurations of desire, loss, sexuality, power, vulnerability, and violence.

Kaivola has worked out a strikingly original means of reading difference—and reading differently—in order to account for what has been inexplicable in different literary texts by women. All Contraries Confounded seeks to problematize feminist theory that celebrates resistance in fiction by women, for it questions the ability of dominant modes of feminist critical theory to recognize and address fully the forms of contradiction and ambivalence that riddle women's writings—and women's lives.