This is the first, full-length study of the fiction of Christine Brooke-Rose, one of the most innovative and yet critically neglected of contemporary British writers.
Setting her work firmly in the context of English and French writing as well as literary and feminist theory, Sarah Birch examines the full range of Brooke-Rose's fiction: the early realist novels published between 1957-1961; the strongly anti-realist period beginning with Out (1964), when Brooke-Rose's work was seen to be heavily influenced by French experimental fiction; and the third phase of her development which began with Xorandor (1986) and which marks a questioning return to the traditional techniques of the novel. Sarah Birch asks why a novelist who has been so highly praised by critics is nevertheless excluded from the contemporary canon, and argues that Brooke-Rose's position on the borders of European and British cultures raises key questions concerning the notion of a 'national' tradition and of literary post-modernism. For Birch, Brooke-Rose's work is best understood as a poetic and playful questioning of categories in general, be they discursive or cultural.
Drawing on a detailed knowledge of literary theory, this is a major study of an important but critically neglected novelist and a perceptive analysis of the position of contemporary experimental writers.
`Sarah Birch's account of the work of Christine Brooke-Rose is comprehensive...the account she provides is highly theoretised...This is a clear and helpful, if rather reverential, introduction to both Brooke-Rose's own fiction and to contemporary theories of fiction as such.'
Forum for Modern language studies 31:4
`a very well-produced volume...admirable, clearly laid out, lucidly argued, and consistently capable of responding to the wide ranging demands which Brooke-Rose makes upon her reader.'
Review of English studies
`excellent study...The meticulous bibliography alone will prove an invaluable tool to any future researcher. At a less elevated level, undergraduates and general interest readers who wish simply to know what the novels are `about' are well served by the clear accounts given of each novel before launching into deeper commentary and theoretical issues...very significant critical achievement. It is gratifying that Brooke-Rose has at last received the full and
intelligent commentary she has so long deserved.'
Women: A Cultural Review 6:3
`This, the first full-length study of her fiction, fulfils its purpose extremely well. As a general study it is admirable, clearly laid out, lucidly argued, and consistently capable of responding to the wide-ranging demands which Brooke-Rose makes upon her reader.'
Flora Alexander, University of Aberdeen, Review of English Studies, Vol. XLVII, No. 188, Nov '96
The early novels - a prologue to experiment; "Out", "Such" and "Between" - metaphor and the languages of knowledge; "Between", "Thru" and "Amalganemnon" - gender and the discourses of the human sciences; "Amalgamemnon", "Xorander", "Verbivore" and "Textermination" - technology and the novel; contexts, traditions and placing Christine Brooke-Rose; Christine Brooke-Rose and contemporary fiction. Appendix: a chronology of Christine Brooke-Rose.