Feminist fabulation: space/postmodern fiction

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University of Iowa Press, 1992 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 312 pages
The surprising and controversial thesis of Feminist Fabulation is unflinching: the postmodern canon has systematically excluded a wide range of important women's writing by dismissing it as genre fiction. Marleen Barr issues an urgent call for a corrective, for the recognition of a new meta- or supergenre of contemporary writing - feminist fabulation - which includes both acclaimed mainstream works and works which today's critics consistently denigrate or ignore. In its investigation of the relationship between women writers and postmodern fiction in terms of outer space and canonical space, Feminist Fabulation is a pioneer vehicle built to explore postmodernism in terms of female literary spaces which have something to do with real-world women. Branding the postmodern canon as a masculinist utopia and a nowhere for feminists, Barr offers the stunning argument that feminist science fiction is not science fiction at all but is really metafiction about patriarchal fiction. Barr's concern is directed every bit as much toward contemporary feminist critics as it is toward patriarchy. Rather than trying to reclaim lost feminist writers of the past, she suggests, feminist criticism should concentrate on reclaiming the present's lost fabulative feminist writers, writers steeped in nonpatriarchal definitions of reality who can guide us into another order of world altogether. Barr offers very specific plans for new structures that will benefit women, feminist theory, postmodern theory, and science fiction theory alike. Feminist fabulation calls for a new understanding which enables the canon to accommodate feminist difference and emphasizes that the literature called "feminist SF" is an importantsite of postmodern feminist difference. Barr forces the reader to rethink the whole country club of postmodernism, not just its membership list - and in so doing provides a discourse of this century worthy of a prominent reading by all scholars, feminists, writers, and literary theorists and critics.

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The Feminist AngloAmerican Critical
Canonizing the Monstrous
A Dream of Flying

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About the author (1992)

MARLEEN S. BARR is Visiting Associate Professor of English at the University of Iowa.