Genre 45:2

An issue of: Genre

Genre 45:2
Journal Issue Pages: 124 Volume 45, Number 2 Published: Summer 2012 An issue of Genre


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The Subject of Accounting: Bookkeeping Women in American Literature, 1885 - 1925

Brubaker, A.

This essay explores the recurring portrait of the bookkeeping woman in the fiction of writers such as Willa Cather, Edna Ferber, Mary Wilkins Freeman, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Frances E. W. Harper, Sinclair Lewis, and Elmer Rice. It explores how the discourse of mathematics offers women a set of skills for navigating emergent economic and professional opportunities and provides a culturally authoritative means of self-advocacy. Focusing particularly on Gilman's What Diantha Did and Ferber's Fanny Herself, the author shows how the quantitative practices of their heroines function both to construct new models of female subjectivity based on rationality and fiscal discipline and to preserve existing racial, ethnic, and class taxonomies. Rather than simply exploring the effects of an increasingly technoscientific culture on literary formations, the author shows how these writers capitalize on the cultural authority of mathematics to enable certain ideological and subjective positions.

Silencing the Politics of Literature in Virginia Woolf's The Voyage Out

Mangrum, B.

Virginia Woolf's first novel, The Voyage Out, disputes the manner in which its characters appropriate literary texts for their political interests. Woolf delivers this challenge through Rachel Vinrace's ill-fated voyage, which culminates in a series of disorienting encounters in the colony of Santa Marina. These experiences incite a dissociative fugue, a loss of identity precipitated by the flight to a foreign environment, which ends finally in Rachel's death. Her voyage therefore evokes what Benjamin Mangrum describes as the tragedy of modern existence and reveals a complex double bind in which Rachel's art depends upon an imperial, exploitative society. Despite this dire view of modern society, Woolf's subversion of the politics of literature not only disrupts her readers' cultural presuppositions but also posits an alternative. In particular, Woolf confronts the view of literature as a commodity of power with her opposing belief in the mystical and metaphysical possibilities of literary moments.

Katherine Mansfield's Satiric Method from In a German Pension to "Je ne parle pas francais"

Carpentier, M. C.

Biographical readings have sequestered Mansfield's satiric voice as dark other, but the relationship between satire and sentiment in her fiction is dialogic, meaning that both are double-voiced, not binaristically opposed. Countering gendered discussions of satire in the critical discourse, the author uses Northrup Frye's definition of "the central principal of ironic myth" as a "parody of romance," Mikhail M. Bakhtin's discussions of the grotesque and parody as "an integral element in Menippean satire and in all carnivalized genres," and Charles A. Knight's chapters "Satiric Nationalism" and "Satiric Exile" to explicate Mansfield's technique in "Germans at Meat," showing that her purpose was to attack British as well as German nationalism from a colonialist stance of marginality and exile. After analyzing "The Swing of the Pendulum" as a transitional tale and discussing Mansfield's use of the satiric grotesque to parody national stereotypes during the war, the essay goes on to show that she evolved a more subtle parodic voice, producing tragicomic satire, as a direct result of the impact of Fyodor Dostoevsky in 1916. This genesis of Mansfield's satiric method culminated in "Je ne parle pas français," where her mastery of parodistic skaz (narration as oral speech) a

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