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Bordering on the Body : The Racial Matrix of Modern Fiction and Culture - Laura Doyle

Bordering on the Body

The Racial Matrix of Modern Fiction and Culture

Paperback

Published: 22nd December 1994
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The figure of the mother in literature and the arts has been the subject of much recent critical attention. Whereas many studies have focused on women writers and the maternal, Laura Doyle significantly broadens the field by tracing the racial logic internal to Western representations of maternality at least since Romanticism. She formulates a theory of "racial patriarchy" in which the circumscription of reproduction within racial borders engenders what she calls the "race mother" in literary and cultural narratives. Pairing literary movements not often considered together--Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance--Doyle reveals that this figure haunts the openings of diverse modern novels and initiates their experimental narrative trajectories. Figures such as the slave mother in Invisible Man, Lena Grove in Light in August, Mrs. Dedalus in Ulysses, and Sethe in Beloved, Doyle shows, embody racial, sexual, and metaphysical anxieties which modern authors expose reconfigure, and attempt to surpass.
Making use of heterogeneous materials, including kinship studies, phenomenology, and histories of slavery, Bordering on the Body traces the symbolic operations of the "race mother" from Romanticism and nineteenth-century biology to eugenics and twentieth-century fiction. A breakthrough in race and gender theory, a racial reconfiguration of modernism, and a reinterpretation of discourses of nature since Romanticism, the book will engage a wide spectrum of readers in literary and cultural studies.

"A useful and important study....Will provide a radical rereading of modernist texts."--Choice "Doyle's is an original and striking study of a rich variety of modernisms, working with discernment and elegance at the 'compounded' intersection of race, sexualities, and gender."--Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Temple University "Laura Doyle's book is a timely, readable, and exceedingly provocative analysis of the relation between matriarchal theories and racial politics. Her study of modernist and Harlem Renaissance fictions and the configurations of the racialized mother figure is astute, innovative new work. I admire this book for its scope and finely crafted arguments about the intersections of race and aesthetics."--Dale M. Bauer, University of Wisconsin "Bordering on the Body criss-crosses the boundaries of the history of science, literary studies, cultural studies, feminism, and African-American studies to produce startlingly original readings of modern classics by Joyce, Woolf, Toomer, Ellison, and Morrison. Doyle's concept of 'racial patriarchy' brilliantly shows the co-dependence of racial and gender hierarchies, particularly as the figure of the 'racial mother' functions as cultural icon that both sustains and dismantles the interdependencies of racism and sexism. This book is a must for anyone interested in intermingling of race and gender in modern literatuire and science."--Susan Stanford Friedman, University of Wisconsin, Madison "Doyle expands current scholarship on the material."--American Literature "A useful and important study....Will provide a radical rereading of modernist texts."--Choice "Doyle's is an original and striking study of a rich variety of modernisms, working with discernment and elegance at the 'compounded' intersection of race, sexualities, and gender."--Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Temple University "Laura Doyle's book is a timely, readable, and exceedingly provocative analysis of the relation between matriarchal theories and racial politics. Her study of modernist and Harlem Renaissance fictions and the configurations of the racialized mother figure is astute, innovative new work. I admire this book for its scope and finely crafted arguments about the intersections of race and aesthetics."--Dale M. Bauer, University of Wisconsin "Bordering on the Body criss-crosses the boundaries of the history of science, literary studies, cultural studies, feminism, and African-American studies to produce startlingly original readings of modern classics by Joyce, Woolf, Toomer, Ellison, and Morrison. Doyle's concept of 'racial patriarchy' brilliantly shows the co-dependence of racial and gender hierarchies, particularly as the figure of the 'racial mother' functions as cultural icon that both sustains and dismantles the interdependencies of racism and sexism. This book is a must for anyone interested in intermingling of race and gender in modern literatuire and science."--Susan Stanford Friedman, University of Wisconsin, Madison "Doyle expands current scholarship on the material."--American Literature

Introductionp. 3
Of Race and Woman: Eugenics, Motherhood, and Racial Patriarchyp. 10
Romanticism and the Race Aesthetic: Scott and Wordsworthp. 35
Reimagining Materiality after Romanticism: Science, Phenomenology, and Narrativep. 54
Swan Song for the Race Mother: Late-Romantic Narrative in Canep. 81
The Parodic Purge, the Maternal Return: Late-Romantic Narrative in Ulyssesp. 110
Voyaging Beyond the Race Mother: Melymbrosia and To the Lighthousep. 139
Burning Down the House: Interruptive Narrative in Invisible Manp. 174
"To Get to a Place": Intercorporeality in Belovedp. 206
Conclusionp. 231
Notesp. 235
Indexp. 263
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195086553
ISBN-10: 0195086554
Series: Race and American Culture
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 22nd December 1994
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.88  x 1.27
Weight (kg): 0.4