A new ‘feminist’ novel? Popular narratives and the pleasures of reading

This CCWW conference was due to be held on 28 and 29 May 2020. Due to COVID-19, the conference had to be postponed to a later date. However, we are delighted to bring you here two short pieces from speakers who were due to present their papers. This is a preview of the conference to come.

This cross-cultural conference takes its cue from the recent popularity of a number of novels focusing on women by authors from around the world, for example, Elena Ferrante’s quartet L'amica geniale, Agnès Martin-Lugand's Les gens heureux lisent et boivent du café, Anna Gavalda’s Ensemble c’est tout, Tatiana de Rosnay’s Elle s’appelait Sarah, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments, Madeline Miller’s Circe, and Rosa Montero’s La carne. The popularity of these novels has been increased by their translations into many languages and their transfer to cinema and the small screen, pointing to their relevance to women’s lives around the globe and sensitizing audiences to old and new feminist issues. The aim of the conference is to explore the recent ‘return to the story’ and the tensions that follow, thus working towards a theorization of the pleasures of reading. The focus is both on the textual and authorial control of the reading process and the readerly power over the text.

Author: School of Advanced Study

Speaker(s): Mónica Ganhão (University of Lisbon): 'Writing Women for Nineteenth-century Readers: The Case of “Herança de Lágrimas” by Ana Plácido', and Francesca Calamita (University of Virginia): 'Teaching and Doing Research on “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Luna Nera” is a Feminist Issue'.

Organisations: Institute of Languages, Cultures and Societies

Event date: Thursday, 28 May 2020 - 9:00am