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Women Look into Love: Reimaginings of Heterosexual Love in Contemporary Women’s Fiction

KAREKLA, MELINA (2013) Women Look into Love: Reimaginings of Heterosexual Love in Contemporary Women’s Fiction. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This thesis explores how contemporary women writers write about heterosexual love, considering not only the ways it has been implicated in patriarchal models and traditional romance plots, but also its portrayal in light of developments in feminism and fiction in the 1990s and 2000s. The thesis examines Carol Shields’s The Republic of Love (1992), Toni Morrison’s Jazz (1992), Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine (1993), Nadine Gordimer’s The Pickup (2001), Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto (2001), Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin (2000) and Doris Lessing’s Love, Again (1995). In this study it emerges that as well as illustrating continuities, the scope of the treatment of love is opened up further in recent fiction as aspects like age or social, economic and historical factors are centralised and considered in interesting ways. The thesis also identifies some positive approaches to heterosexual love, as in, for example, the emphasis on men’s capacity for emotions. However, this is not always the case, as a writer like Lessing further develops a vision of love without providing an affirmative view. Thus, the contemporary women writers’ work can be said to contribute to understandings of heterosexual love on many different levels, even as feminist criticisms of repressive, patriarchal forms of romantic relationship continue to remain relevant.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:2013
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:05 Aug 2013 14:15

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