The sealed room : Lou Andreas-Salomé and Anaïs Nin : a study in the genesis of fiction

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Funk, Gisela
  • Subject: PS | PT

This study explores the relationship between female identity\ud formation within patriarchal society and women's literary\ud discourse.\ud The 'Introduction' serves to highlight Lou Andreas-Salomé's\ud and Anaïs Nin's acute awareness of the tradional conflict\ud between the role of artist and the role of woman. With both\ud writers, their efforts to come to terms with their own creative\ud powers involve tentative questions about the function of\ud writing itself, which they both experience as a vital need.\ud Part One of the study, therefore, addresses itself to reflecting\ud the role of language as a basic means of socialization, which\ud produces genderized subjects. This is related to the power of\ud language to enable the construction of identity. Patriarchal\ud culture produces woman as man's complementary Other. Questions\ud of female identity and desire thus gain particular importance\ud for the writer who strives to constitute her identity as\ud autonomous subject.\ud The first two chapters of Part Two focus on the problems that\ud confront the women who, within the process of writing assume\ud creative powers that are traditionally conceived as male prerogatives.\ud The internalized image of woman as mother operates\ud as a powerful impediment to creative self-assertion. An equally\ud fundamental obstacle in the writer's quest for literary authority\ud are the problematic links each writer establishes between\ud a masculinized creator God, paternal authority and cultural\ud discourse. Transcending their culturally induced duality between\ud woman and creator Lou Andreas-Salomé and Anaïs Nin develop\ud opposed literary strategies. Yet both resort to non-threatening\ud female stereotypes that are able to accommodate their anxiety of\ud authorship. Chapters III and IV revolve around the experience\ud of writing itself in terms of a re-construction of inherited\ud meanings and the woman's problem of creating her own meanings.\ud Chapter V concentrates on the gaps that structure either\ud writer's discourse and contribute to making it impossible\ud to establish the woman as subject of desire.\ud Chapter VI explores the ways in which internalized concepts\ud of femininity work to limit the freedom of the imagination,\ud reduce the field of vision and result in projecting transgressive\ud female desires in disguised or displaced form.\ud The 'Conclusion' stresses the inadequacy of existing\ud controversial attitudes to both writers and highlights\ud significant differences between the fiction of Lou Andreas-Salomé and Anaïs Nin.
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    24 references, page 1 of 3

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