Reconstructing urban space: Twentieth-century women writers of French expression

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/282108
Title:
Reconstructing urban space: Twentieth-century women writers of French expression
Author:
Longust, Bridgett Renee, 1964-
Issue Date:
1996
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
This dissertation examines the importance of urban space in the works of feminist writers from France, Quebec, the Maghreb and Francophone West Africa. Each author writes women as subjects of their own experience in the city, identifies the representations of power and gender in urban landscapes, restores a feminist voice to the polis and supports women's claim to enfranchisement in urban space. My analysis is based upon the fundamental premise that urban space reflects power dynamics and is, like gender, a social and political construction borne of a dominant patriarchal ideology. The urban type of the female flaneuse, or ambulant heroine, is prevalent in several of the texts. These are women whose personal trajectories through the metropolis serve as a common referant to define their identity. Exploitation, disciplinary surveillance and disillusion characterize (1) Claire Etcherelli's urban dystopia in Elise ou la vraie vie. (2) Annie Ernaux's observations of life in the periphery of Paris in the Journal du dehors are centered on the market economy of the city and women's status as commodity. The deviant behavior of (3) Andree Chedid's virtually homeless, elderly heroine in La cite fertile thinly veils a provocative inquiry into the notion of urban identity. (4) Christine de Pizan and the Quebecoise writer, (5) Nicole Brossard both employ the metaphor of construction--architectural and textual--and share utopian visions of women's writing as the site for feminist praxis and cultural transformation. (6) Nina Bouraoui's cloistered Algerian heroine in La Voyeuse interdite and the women in (7) Assia Djebar's novels dare to defy and transgress the boundaries which exclude women from the urban realm in the Maghreb. (8) Calixthe Beyala's novels depict young African women struggling with issues of identity and survival in metropolises dominated by a repressive, patriarchal mentality. Throughout the texts, the city appears in multiple guises: as a text, a body, a marketplace, and a prison. For these authors, writing on the city constitutes a feminist act asserting women's right to claim a voice in that space. These works situate the city as a locus of cultural and political critique, whose spatial configurations reflect the social constructions of gender.
Type:
text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
Keywords:
Literature, Romance.; Literature, African.; Literature, Canadian (French).; Women's Studies.
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; French and Italian
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Leibacher, Lise; Wittig, Monique

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen_US
dc.titleReconstructing urban space: Twentieth-century women writers of French expressionen_US
dc.creatorLongust, Bridgett Renee, 1964-en_US
dc.contributor.authorLongust, Bridgett Renee, 1964-en_US
dc.date.issued1996en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation examines the importance of urban space in the works of feminist writers from France, Quebec, the Maghreb and Francophone West Africa. Each author writes women as subjects of their own experience in the city, identifies the representations of power and gender in urban landscapes, restores a feminist voice to the polis and supports women's claim to enfranchisement in urban space. My analysis is based upon the fundamental premise that urban space reflects power dynamics and is, like gender, a social and political construction borne of a dominant patriarchal ideology. The urban type of the female flaneuse, or ambulant heroine, is prevalent in several of the texts. These are women whose personal trajectories through the metropolis serve as a common referant to define their identity. Exploitation, disciplinary surveillance and disillusion characterize (1) Claire Etcherelli's urban dystopia in Elise ou la vraie vie. (2) Annie Ernaux's observations of life in the periphery of Paris in the Journal du dehors are centered on the market economy of the city and women's status as commodity. The deviant behavior of (3) Andree Chedid's virtually homeless, elderly heroine in La cite fertile thinly veils a provocative inquiry into the notion of urban identity. (4) Christine de Pizan and the Quebecoise writer, (5) Nicole Brossard both employ the metaphor of construction--architectural and textual--and share utopian visions of women's writing as the site for feminist praxis and cultural transformation. (6) Nina Bouraoui's cloistered Algerian heroine in La Voyeuse interdite and the women in (7) Assia Djebar's novels dare to defy and transgress the boundaries which exclude women from the urban realm in the Maghreb. (8) Calixthe Beyala's novels depict young African women struggling with issues of identity and survival in metropolises dominated by a repressive, patriarchal mentality. Throughout the texts, the city appears in multiple guises: as a text, a body, a marketplace, and a prison. For these authors, writing on the city constitutes a feminist act asserting women's right to claim a voice in that space. These works situate the city as a locus of cultural and political critique, whose spatial configurations reflect the social constructions of gender.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeDissertation-Reproduction (electronic)en_US
dc.subjectLiterature, Romance.en_US
dc.subjectLiterature, African.en_US
dc.subjectLiterature, Canadian (French).en_US
dc.subjectWomen's Studies.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineFrench and Italianen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorLeibacher, Liseen_US
dc.contributor.advisorWittig, Moniqueen_US
dc.identifier.proquest9706143en_US
dc.identifier.bibrecord.b34260912en_US
All Items in UA Campus Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.