The Female Complaint: The Unfinished Business of Sentimentality in American Culture

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9780822341840: The Female Complaint: The Unfinished Business of Sentimentality in American Culture

The Female Complaint is part of Lauren Berlant’s groundbreaking “national sentimentality” project charting the emergence of the U.S. political sphere as an affective space of attachment and identification. In this book, Berlant chronicles the origins and conventions of the first mass-cultural “intimate public” in the United States, a “women’s culture” distinguished by a view that women inevitably have something in common and are in need of a conversation that feels intimate and revelatory. As Berlant explains, “women’s” books, films, and television shows enact a fantasy that a woman’s life is not just her own, but an experience understood by other women, no matter how dissimilar they are. The commodified genres of intimacy, such as “chick lit,” circulate among strangers, enabling insider self-help talk to flourish in an intimate public. Sentimentality and complaint are central to this commercial convention of critique; their relation to the political realm is ambivalent, as politics seems both to threaten sentimental values and to provide certain opportunities for their extension.

Pairing literary criticism and historical analysis, Berlant explores the territory of this intimate public sphere through close readings of U.S. women’s literary works and their stage and film adaptations. Her interpretation of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and its literary descendants reaches from Harriet Beecher Stowe to Toni Morrison’s Beloved, touching on Shirley Temple, James Baldwin, and The Bridges of Madison County along the way. Berlant illuminates different permutations of the women’s intimate public through her readings of Edna Ferber’s Show Boat; Fannie Hurst’s Imitation of Life; Olive Higgins Prouty’s feminist melodrama Now, Voyager; Dorothy Parker’s poetry, prose, and Academy Award–winning screenplay for A Star Is Born; the Fay Weldon novel and Roseanne Barr film The Life and Loves of a She-Devil; and the queer, avant-garde film Showboat 1988–The Remake. The Female Complaint is a major contribution from a leading Americanist.

Les informations fournies dans la section « Synopsis » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

From the Publisher :

"Of all the feminist cultural theorists whom I admire, Lauren Berlant is the one I consider to be the most theoretically innovative and politically inspiring. Yet this book exceeded even my highest hopes and expectations. Refusing to dodge the really searching political questions for contemporary American culture, Berlant maps the tricky terrain of the intimate public sphere. She has written a phenomenal study of breathtaking scope. I have no doubt that scholars and students will continue to debate the issues it raises for many years to come."--Jackie Stacey, University of Manchester

"Lauren Berlant's voice is as unmistakable as Ella Fitzgerald singing scat. By turns seductive and bracing, gentle and wise, reassuring and disorienting, The Female Complaint asks readers to take mass-mediated women's culture seriously. By the end of this absorbing book, you will understand the importance of living better clichés, why love requires amnesia, and how banality can be therapeutic. You will also have an irresistible craving to watch Now, Voyager one more time, in whatever setting enables you to thrive, and to give this fascinating book to someone who deserves to love better, or to forgive herself for just getting by."--Mary Poovey, New York University

"Guiding us through a `women's culture' animated by scenes of longing for a fantasmatic commonality, an ever-elusive normativity, Lauren Berlant illuminates, in readings unfailingly subtle and wise, the psychic negotiations and emotional bargaining that women in U.S. culture conduct to be part of an `intimate public.' More dazzlingly still, she addresses what the business of sentimentality works to obscure: the possibility of political agency in the face of a cultural machinery that makes us feel helpless to do anything more than affirm our ability to feel. To read The Female Complaint is to realize how long and how much it's been needed."--Lee Edelman, author of No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive

From the Back Cover :

"Guiding us through a 'women's culture' animated by scenes of longing for a fantasmatic commonality, an ever-elusive normativity, Lauren Berlant illuminates, in readings unfailingly subtle and wise, the psychic negotiations and emotional bargaining that women in U.S. culture conduct to be part of an 'intimate public.' More dazzlingly still, she addresses what the business of sentimentality works to obscure: the possibility of political agency in the face of a cultural machinery that makes us feel helpless to do anything more than affirm our ability to feel. To read "The Female Complaint "is to realize how long and how much it's been needed."--Lee Edelman, author of "No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive"

Les informations fournies dans la section « A propos du livre » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

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