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The Modern Feminine in the Medusa Satire of Fanny Fern

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217 S. XIII, 217 p. 1 illus..

In englischer Sprache

Springer Nature Switzerland. ISBN 978-3-031-41276-9


The Modern Feminine in the Medusa Satire of Fanny Fern argues that Sara Parton and her literary alter ego, Fanny Fern, occupy a star-power position within the antebellum literary marketplace dominated by women authors of sentimental fiction, writers Nathaniel Hawthorne (in)famously called "the damn mob of scribbling women." The Fanny Fern persona represents a nineteenth-century woman voicing the modern feminine within a laughter-provoking bourgeois carnival, a forerunner of Hélène Cixous's laughing Medusa figure and her theory about écriture féminine. By advancing an innovative theory about an Anglo-American aesthetic, comic belles lettres, Caron explains the comic nuances of Parton's persona, capable of both an amiable and a caustic satire. The book traces Parton's burgeoning celebrity, analyzes her satires on cultural expectations of gendered behavior, and provides a close look at her variegated comic style. The book then makes two first-order conclusions: Parton not only offers a unique profile for antebellum women comic writers, but her Fanny Fern persona also anchors a potential genealogy of women comic writers and activists, down to the present day, who could fit Kate Clinton's concept of fumerism, a feminist style of humor that fumes, that embraces the comic power of a Medusa satire.

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