The Intimate Critique: Autobiographical Literary Criticism

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Diane P. Freedman, Olivia Frey, Frances Murphy Zauhar
Duke University Press, 1993 - Literary Criticism - 312 pages
For a long time now, readers and scholars have strained against the limits of traditional literary criticism, whose precepts—above all, "objectivity"—seem to have so little to do with the highly personal and deeply felt experience of literature. The Intimate Critique marks a movement away from this tradition. With their rich spectrum of personal and passionate voices, these essays challenge and ultimately breach the boundaries between criticism and narrative, experience and expression, literature and life.
Grounded in feminism and connected to the race, class, and gender paradigms in cultural studies, the twenty-six contributors to this volume—including Jane Tompkins, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Shirley Nelson Garner, and Shirley Goek-Lin Lim—respond in new, refreshing ways to literary subjects ranging from Homer to Freud, Middlemarch to The Woman Warrior, Shiva Naipaul to Frederick Douglass. Revealing the beliefs and formative life experiences that inform their essays, these writers characteristically recount the process by which their opinions took shape--a process as conducive to self-discovery as it is to critical insight. The result—which has been referred to as "personal writing," "experimental critical writing," or "intellectual autobiography"—maps a dramatic change in the direction of literary criticism.

Contributors. Julia Balen, Dana Beckelman, Ellen Brown, Sandra M. Brown, Rosanne Kanhai-Brunton, Suzanne Bunkers, Peter Carlton, Brenda Daly, Victoria Ekanger, Diane P. Freedman, Olivia Frey, Shirley Nelson Garner, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Melody Graulich, Gail Griffin, Dolan Hubbard, Kendall, Susan Koppelman, Shirley Geok-Lin Lim, Linda Robertson, Carol Taylor, Jane Tompkins, Cheryl Torsney, Trace Yamamoto, Frances Murphy Zauhar

 

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Contents

Border Crossing as Method and Motif in Contemporary
13
Womens Voices and Critical
41
My Sojourn at Parchman Farm Cheryl B Torsney
67
Being a Report on J Hillis Millers Campus
81
CRITICAL CONFESSIONS
101
The Woman Warrior Shirley Nelson Garner
117
Some Meanings of Blackness
135
A Girl in a Library to Randall Jarrell
151
The Scarlet Brewer and the Voice of the Colonized
191
What Do Women Really Mean? Thoughts on Womens Diaries
207
AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL
223
Rereading Middlemarch Rereading Myself Peter Carlton
237
Penelopes Web Gail Griffin
255
A Duography Kendall
273
La Ronde of Children and Mothers Julia BalÚn
293
Contributors
309

An Essay for My Mother
175

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About the author (1993)

Diane P. Freedman, Assistant Professor of English at University of New Hampshire, is the author of An Alchemy of Genres: Cross-Genre Writing by American Women Poet Critics.

Olivia Frey is Associate Professor of English and Director of Women's Studies at St. Olaf College.

Frances Murphy Zauhar is Assistant Professor of English at St. Vincent College.

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