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Rereading Heterosexuality

Feminism, Queer Theory and Contemporary Fiction

Rachel Carroll

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Heterosexuality in contemporary novels, re-examined using the frameworks of feminism and queer theory

Drawing on feminist and queer theories of sex, gender and sexuality, this study focuses on female identities at odds with heterosexual norms. In particular, it explores narratives in which the conventional equation between heterosexuality, reproductive sexuality and female identity is questioned.

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Contents

Introduction: Feminism, Queer Theory and Heterosexuality
Part One: Revisiting the spinster
1. 'Becoming my own ghost': spinsterhood and the 'invisibility' of heterosexuality in Sarah Waters's Affinity
2. Telling tales out of school: spinsters, scandals and intergenerational heterosexuality in Zoë Heller's Notes on a Scandal
Part Two: Transgressive female heterosexuality
3. Queering Alice, killing Lolita: feminism, queer theory and the politics of child sexuality in A.M Homes's The End of Alice
4. Unauthorised reproduction: class, pregnancy and transgressive female heterosexuality in Alan Warner's Morvern Callar
Part Three: Reproducing heterosexuality
5. 'First one thing and then the other': rewriting the intersexed body in Jeffrey Eugenides's Middlesex
6. Imitations of life: cloning, heterosexuality and the human in Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go

About the Author

Rachel Carroll is Principal Lecturer in English at Teesside University, UK. Her research on twentieth century and contemporary British and American writers, including Angela Carter, Don DeLillo and Flannery O'Connor, has been published in journals such as Textual Practice, Journal of American Studies and Journal of Gender Studies. Her research interests also extend to film and television adaptations; her edited collection, Adaptation in Contemporary Culture: Textual Infidelities, was published in 2009.

Reviews

"In Rereading Heterosexuality Rachel Carroll steps into provocative and challenging territory. She confronts one of feminisms most thorny dilemmas, namely how to comprehend female heterosexuality which is not simply non-normative but virtually unthinkable to the feminist canon. Written with skill and scholarship in equal measure, there are no easy answers but rather a productive unsettling of expectations."


Carol Smart, University of Manchester.

Rachel Carroll makes us 'see' heterosexuality in new and different ways so that we can no longer take it as read. The novels chosen for discussion make interesting bedfellows and the analysis is distinctive and fresh: this will be essential reading for anyone working in contemporary fiction, gender and sexuality.
- Dr Susan Watkins, School of Cultural Studies, Leeds Metropolitan University

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