Literature by the same author
plus at Google Scholar

Bibliografische Daten exportieren

Demand My Writing : Joanna Russ, Feminism, Science Fiction

Title data

Cortiel, Jeanne:
Demand My Writing : Joanna Russ, Feminism, Science Fiction.
Liverpool : Liverpool Univ. Press , 1999 . - 254 p. - (Liverpool Science Fiction Texts and Studies ; 18 )
ISBN 0-8532-3614-3

Abstract in another language

Demand My Writing is the first major study of the work of Joanna Russ and gives a broad overview of this important writer's complete oeuvre, including novels, short stories as well as criticism, unearthing so far neglected texts as well as re-reading the major work. Together with other feminist writers such as Monique Wittig, Alice Sheldon, Marge Piercy, and Ursula Le Guin, Joanna Russ revolutionized the genre of science fiction. However, within feminist science fiction, Joanna Russ occupies a special position. Although her work is largely contemporaneous with and heavily influenced by radical feminism of the 1970s, it also anticipates later developments in feminist theory and practice. This study places Russ's work in the context of other feminist speculated fiction writers as well as 'traditional' science fiction, and also pays attention to the specifically American cultural narratives Russ's fiction participates in. One of the aims of this study is to establish cross-historical links between feminist 'theory' and 'fiction.' Examining the recent history of feminist theory and relation to the developments in science fiction, the study formulates connections without, however, establishing exclusive causal links between texts or events. Although identifying and naming of generations in the history of 20th century feminism suggests separation, breakage and opposition, the work of Joanna Russ as examined in this study suggests a continuity and links the radical materialist ideas of the late 60s and early 70s with the separatism of the late 70s and early 80s and with the poststructuralisms of the late 80s and 90s. Experimenting with empowering ways of transforming subjectivity, Russ’s science fiction ultimately stands as a challenge to feminist theory.

Chapter 1 focuses on the materialist aspect of Russ’s work and examines the way in which she creates images of women who demand access to the symbolic order and to the process of history. Shulamith Firestone has analyzed woman’s relation to reproduction as constitutive of the gender dichotomy, which defines “woman” not as a natural category, but as a gender-class. The stories of agency Russ tells are based on such materialist concepts and function within linear temporality.
Chapter 2 searches for the women in Russ’s texts who claim their sexuality and their body as their own and, dissociating from men, seek connections to other women in their lives and in history. Lesbian sexuality provides a space in which the woman’s body is freed from male proprietorship and the debasing meaning attached to her by patriarchal discourse. In associating with women in texts such as the Bible or the Nibelungenlied, the images of women examined in this chapter implicitly reject the notion of linear temporality and replace it with a cyclical notion of time.
Chapter 3 analyzes how the postmodern crisis of the subject expressed in Russ’s texts subverts the notion of a singular identity implicit in both materialism and separatist feminism, without however, rendering these positions irrelevant. The fractured, multiple self in Russ does not negate the self as member of a gender-class and the self reaching out to other women, but supplements them. The new, fluid subjectivity created by the simultaneous presence of the unified identity and its disintegration, contains the (desire for a) utopian possibility beyond the gender antagonism.

Further data

Item Type: Book / Monograph
Keywords: American Studies; Feminist Theory; Science Fiction
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Languages and Literature > Professor North American Studies - American Studies > Professor North American Studies - American Studies - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Jeanne Cortiel
Profile Fields > Emerging Fields > Cultural Encounters and Transcultural Processes
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Institute for American Studies - BIFAS
Faculties > Faculty of Languages and Literature
Faculties > Faculty of Languages and Literature > Professor North American Studies - American Studies
Profile Fields
Profile Fields > Emerging Fields
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Research Centres
Result of work at the UBT: No
DDC Subjects: 800 Literature > 810 American literature in English
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2015 09:54
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2019 07:43