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Biomythographical Tradition and Resistant Subjectivities in Audre Lorde’s
Zami: A New Spelling of My Name

LEWIS, ROSAMUND,MARIE (2016) Biomythographical Tradition and Resistant Subjectivities in Audre Lorde’s
Zami: A New Spelling of My Name.
Masters thesis, Durham University.

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In the struggle for voice and representation, marginalised black /lesbian women writers have often drawn on and reinvented the auto/biographical in their work in order to create new sites of multiple resistance as well as their own aesthetic and socio-political literary spaces. Audre Lorde’s self-named ‘biomythography’ Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, first published in 1982, offers a complex narrative that undermines many preconceptions of biography and memoir as stable genres of rhetorical or objective ‘truths’. In naming her text a biomythography, Lorde deliberately refutes canonical notions of a ‘purity of form’ and objectivity in order to instead reaffirm a radical tradition of black and / or lesbian feminist women’s writing.

My key concern in this dissertation will be to investigate the approaches and significances of Zami: A New Spelling of My Name in shaping literary representations of black/lesbian subjectivity and collective resistance. I will also explore a number of questions about genre, identity and political transformation that recur in Zami and that could be counted as evidence of a literary ‘tradition’ within a broader political and social context. Bringing together diverse theoretical arguments from a black feminist perspective, my study of Lorde’s biomythography, essays and poetry demonstrates how in invoking both the personal and the political alongside inventive mythical symbolism, she creates biographical ‘fictions’ that perform as powerful narratives of transformation. In conclusion I will further examine how the legacy of Audre Lorde’s only full-length work of prose, unapologetically positioned as it is within a black/lesbian feminist literary tradition, still has the power to challenge contemporary manifestations of intersectional oppression and the continued deletion of black/lesbian voices.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Keywords:Audre Lorde, Black Feminism, Black Lesbianism, Lesbian Writing, Biomythography, Feminist Memoir, African American literature, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, Black Biography, Women's Biography, Lesbian Feminism, Radical Biography, social biography, political memoirs, Black Feminist Theory, Feminist Biography, U.S Black Feminism, Feminist Subjectivity,Black Feminist Narratives, Black Feminist mythologies, Black Feminist Narratology
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:01 Sep 2016 09:42

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