O'Rourke, Jacqueline (1989) "Private acts of revolution" : feminism and postmodernism in the fictions of Aritha van Herk. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.
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The fiction of Aritha van Herk allows feminism and postmodernism to overlap. Throughout her multi-layered texts van Herk questions humanist notions of unitary consciousness, universal truth and the objective construction of the past. Her weapons are narrative strategies, intertextuality and women's reclaimed mythologies. Through these techniques, van Herk manages to engender and, at the same time, deconstruct the rational consciousness at the heart of humanist discourse. -- Van Herk's subversions are both literary and societal. She works within established literary forms and simultaneously transforms and subverts the thematic and formalistic conventions of these forms. Furthermore, she questions the very power structure out of which her texts are generated. She especially critiques the social construction of gender and the marginalization of ex-centrics. The aesthetic and the political are inseparably integrated in van Herk's texts. Her textual practice is political and her politics are generated from her textual practice. Her texts are always situated in society and van Herk is always aware of her historical specificity. -- All of van Herk's work, from her short fictions and essays to her three novels - Judith, The Tent Peg, and No Fixed Address - disclose her feminist postmodern poetics. Her narrative experimentation is evident, to varying degrees, in all of her fictions. Also, her novels establish intertextuality with other texts. They question the construction of the mythologies of the past and present. Foregrounded in all of van Herk's texts is a concern with woman and her place in twentieth-century society. The treatment of women by various literary conventions and societal norms always places them as ex-centrics in van Herk's texts. -- Van Herk celebrates ex-centricity and pluralism. Her texts become more revolutionary as she dramatizes the conflict between the feminist and society. The metafictional layers of her works always remind the reader of the plight of the feminist postmodern in Canadian literary and social communities.
|Item Type:||Thesis (Masters)|
|Additional Information:||Bibliography: leaves 242-249.|
|Department(s):||Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature|
|Library of Congress Subject Heading:||Van Herk, Aritha, 1954-; Feminism and literature|
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