Birth, Death and Resurrection
  • Mary Eagleton


Seán Burke is surely right in suggesting the importance of authorship for feminism whether as a practice, an identity or a concept. Second-wave feminism always presumed that access for women applied to the cultural sphere as much as any other and the reshaping in the last thirty years of our cultural history, the establishment of feminist publishing companies or of feminist listings within mainstream companies, the importance of feminism as an academic discourse and the current visibility of women as not only writers but as artists, musicians, cultural workers generally are all testament to that. In this book I sometimes make mention of — to use Umberto Eco’s term — the ‘empirical authors’, female and male, who write the texts I discuss but that is not my major focus. My concern is with the figure of the woman author who appears so frequently and in a number of guises as a character in contemporary fiction and with ‘figuring out’ what she signifies. I do not limit my brief to high-status literary writers. They certainly feature in the figure of the critically respected poet, Mary Swann, in Carol Shields’s novel of that name, or the successful novelist, Fleur Talbot, in Muriel Spark’s Loitering with Intent or the feminist literary critic, Maud Bailey in Antonia Byatt’s Possession.2


Cultural Field Literary Form Creative Writer Cultural Sphere Woman Writer 
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© Mary Eagleton 2005

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  • Mary Eagleton

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