All contraries confounded: the lyrical fiction of Virginia by Karen Kaivola

By Karen Kaivola

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Additional info for All contraries confounded: the lyrical fiction of Virginia Woolf, Djuna Barnes, and Marguerite Duras

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Barnes, DjunaCriticism and interpretation.  Duras, MargueriteCriticism and interpretation.  Fiction, ModernWomen authorsHistory and criticism.  Women and literatureHistory20th century.  Title. 91209dc20CIP Page v Contents Acknowledgments vii 1 Introduction 1 2 The Lyrical Body in Virginia Woolf's Fiction 17 3 Djuna Barnes and the Politics of the Night 59 4 Marguerite Duras and the Subversion of Power 101 Afterword 143 Notes 147 Bibliography 161 Index 169 Page vii Acknowledgments I want to thank Carolyn Allen for her challenging responses to early versions of this project, her assistance in helping me shape my ideas, and her more general encouragement and support of my work.

To the extent that I use these writers' work to question the ability of existing forms of feminist critical theory to recognize and address contradiction, ambivalence, and conflict in writing by women, I focus on specific textual details and give readings of particular passages. I do this in an attempt to resist, as I believe these texts resist, the totalizing impulses of theory. And by resisting the tendency of theory to subordinate texts to its own primacy, I refuse to imagine my own critical readings of the novels as free from the ambivalences and contradictions they register; there's a sense in which my work, in relation to the previous criticism, parallels these writers' relationships to previous literary texts.

Determined by equally decisive experiences of the literary avant-garde and the decadent edge of consumer capitalism" (208). Even though the avant-garde defines itself against normative assumptions and dominant ideologies, of which consumer capitalism is certainly one of the strongest operating in contemporary society, these seemingly Page 10 contrary experiences are not necessarily opposed. For Lentricchia, Stevens undoes the conventional modernist opposition between aesthetics and economics because he "not only prized the new as the different, the rare, and the strange, but could and did find triggering releases of pleasure equally in original poems and in exotic fruits at a specialty market for gourmet shoppers" (208).

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