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Rethinking Women's Collaborative Writing

Rethinking Women's Collaborative Writing: Power, Difference, Property

Lorraine York
Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 192
  • Book Info
    Rethinking Women's Collaborative Writing
    Book Description:

    York explores collaborative writing from women in Britain, the United States, Italy and France, illuminating the tensions in the collaborative process that grow out of important cultural, racial, and sexual differences between the authors.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7931-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. 1 Theorizing Contemporary Women’s Collaborative Writing
    (pp. 3-37)

    In a 1993 issue ofSigns, the collaborative literary critics Carey Kaplan and Ellen Cronan Rose wondered, ‘Can there be a coherent theory of feminist collaboration?’ (559). This book is a response to a reformulated version of Kaplan and Rose’s question: ‘Can there be a coherent theory ofwomen’scollaboration?’ I have altered their useful question because, throughoutRethinking Women’s Collaborative Writing, I will maintain that the act of collaborating on texts does not in itself determine a specific or consistent ideological stance, feminist or any other. As Wayne Koestenbaum reflected inDouble Talk(1989), his book on late nineteenth-...

  5. 2 ‘We Have Horrible Disagreements about “Moreovers”’: Collaborative Theory and Criticism
    (pp. 38-61)

    When the collaborative critics Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar were asked in an interview with Laura Shapiro whether their writing styles were similar, Gubar immediately responded, ‘Oh, not at all. We have horrible disagreements about “moreovers”’ (60). Gilbert and Gubar are, of course, the authors of well-known works of literary criticism such asThe Madwoman in the AtticandNo Man’s Land: The Place of the Woman Writer in the Twentieth Century. Although this chapter will emphasize the tensions, power differentials, and even the ‘horrible disagreements’ that occur in the process of collaborating on works of critical theory and literary...

  6. 3 Collaborative Predecessors
    (pp. 62-94)

    Introducing his book on men’s fin-de-siècle collaborations, Wayne Koestenbaum notes that an ‘entire other book could discuss the history of female (and lesbian) collaboration’ (13).Rethinking Women’s Collaborative Writingis not that other book, for my aim is less to produce a history than to analyse the power dynamics and ideological polyvalence of contemporary women’s collaborations. Still, a historical framework for my analyses of contemporary women’s collaborations is essential if we are to understand those collaborations not as aberrations, as the isolated brainchildren of the twentieth-century avant-garde. They are, instead, products of a number of historical moments when writers felt...

  7. 4 ‘The High Wire of Self and Other’: Prose Collaborations
    (pp. 95-118)

    At first glance, contemporary prose collaborations by women seem far removed from the closeted anxiety of their nineteenth-century predecessors: photographs of smiling collaborative teams grace the back covers of these books. But as I have suggested, I resist drawing a progressive trajectory from nineteenth-century collaborative closeting to twentieth-century full disclosure because I believe that many of the issues of privacy and publicity, property, and space continue to haunt contemporary works, both the prose works I examine here and the poetry I examine in the next chapter. They persist, evolve, and infuse themselves into a wide variety of cultural discourses and...

  8. 5 Being Alone Together: Collaborative Poetry
    (pp. 119-156)

    No other contemporary genre that I deal with in this book has been so thoroughly imbued with the ethos of privacy as has poetry. This holds true, of course, for Western literatures, where the Romantic image of the poet as the solitary, possessed visionary in the attic has taken hold of various poetic communities, in spite of earlier examples of public poetry such as the epic, and in spite of the continuing, though diminished or marginalized, presence of shared, oral forms such as folk ballads, native oratory, and song. But in African and in Eastern cultures, too, particularly Japan, where...

  9. 6 ‘It ... Shook Up My Easy Theories’: Theatrical Collaboration
    (pp. 157-182)

    I take my title from one of Metis writer Maria Campbell’s comments about her difficult collaborative venture with white actress Linda Griffiths because I am aware of how deeply the words resonate for my own project on collaborative writing. Theatrical collaboration does, indeed, shake up many easy theories about collaborative writing and some not-so-easy ones as well. How, for instance, can I isolate and study a form of collaborative writing that I have specifically demarcated as explicit when I address theatre, where the lines between what is explicit collaboration (in the sense of co-signature) and implicit play-making seem so fuzzy,...

  10. Epilogue: ‘Giving Each Other the Gears, We Are Still Engaged’
    (pp. 183-188)

    Although I have characterized theatre as schizophrenic in its relation to collaboration, I sense that the institution that is even more internally riven in its responses to collective cultural work is the one that I work in: the university. For this reason, I prefer to conclude on a pedagogical and institutional note, thinking about responses to collaboration that I have witnessed as a scholar and teacher in a Canadian university. At several points in this study I have described the suspicion with which North American humanities divisions of universities regard collaborative work, in the form of negative tenure and promotion...

  11. Works Cited
    (pp. 189-198)
  12. Index
    (pp. 199-205)