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Motherhood and Representation : The Mother in Popular Culture and Melodrama - E. Ann Kaplan

Motherhood and Representation

The Mother in Popular Culture and Melodrama

Paperback Published: 7th May 1992
ISBN: 9780415011273
Number Of Pages: 268

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What is the significance of the discourse of motherhood in the United States? How is this white, middle-class mythology constructed? "Motherhood and Representation" explores the portrayal and ideological coding of "motherhood" in U.S. culture from 1830 to the present, examining the mother within three distinct, but ultimately related spheres: the historical, which charts the changes in the role of the socially constructed, institutional mother from Rousseau, through high-modernism, to the post-modernist present; the psychoanalytic, which focuses on various theories of the mother in the unconscious, from Freud, to Lacan and the French feminists, to more recent theoretical revisions and challenges; and, finally, the mother as she is depicted in cultural representations, particularly literary and film.
Kaplan focuses on the two dominant Western paradigms of mother as "Angel" and "Witch" in nineteenth century women's writing, and then uses these analyses as the context for an exploration of twentieth century Hollywood cinema, including the films "Imitation of Life, Stella Dallas, Christopher" "Strong, Now Voyager, Marnie, Three Men and a Baby, The Good Mother," and "The Handmaid's Tale." The final section interprets the contesting and often contradictory contemporary discourses of the mother, arguing that modern reproductive technologies have created dramatic changes in the representation of motherhood. "Motherhood and Representation" will be essential reading for all those involved in gender studies, cultural studies, film, and critical theory.

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List of illustrations
History and theory discourses
Introductionp. 3
The Historical Sphere: Motherhood as institution and social discoursep. 17
The Psychoanalytic Sphere and Motherhood Discoursep. 27
Motherhood and fictional representation
Women's Writing, Melodrama and Filmp. 59
The Maternal Melodrama: The Sacrifice Paradigm: Ellen Wood's East Lynne and its play and film versionsp. 76
The Maternal Melodrama: The "Phallic" Mother Paradigm: Now Voyager (1942) and Marnie (1964)p. 107
The "Resisting" Text Within The Patriarchal "Feminine": Nineteenth-century women's writing and the "maternal woman's film" in the silent era: Uncle Tom's Cabin; Herland; The Blot; The Crowd; Applausep. 124
The "Resisting" Maternal Woman's Film 1930-60: Arzner's Christopher Strong and Craig's Wife; Imitation of Life (1934 and 1959); Stella Dallas (1937); select Sirk filmsp. 149
Sex, Work and Mother/Fatherhood: Consumerism, science and reproductive technologies in the postmodern erap. 180
Notesp. 220
Bibliographyp. 227
Names indexp. 239
Subject indexp. 245
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780415011273
ISBN-10: 0415011272
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 268
Published: 7th May 1992
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.8  x 1.8
Weight (kg): 0.54
Edition Number: 1