Colloques & Conferences de l'Universite Lyon 2, "Rewriting / Reprising" - La reprise en litterature

Re-writing the fetish: Angela Carter's tales

richard pedot

Dernière modification: 2007-07-02


E.L. MacCallum writes that ''fetishism offers a compelling model for understanding how feminism can embrace postmodernism and still retain its progressive political specificity.'' In Carter's case, however, the suggestion may appear too sanguine, as the reconciliation of politics and (aesthetic) pleasure is never fully realised. Drawing on Roland Barthes and Giorgio Agamben, this paper will discuss Carter's rewriting of the fetish as she ''inherits'' it from late 19th century French poetry or the Surrealists -- to say nothing about English Romanticism or fairy tales. Her (unavoidably questionable) strategy of demystification of gender and femininity goes through a critique of the fetish as a means of male domination which turns it into a critical weapon. Fetishism, in this respect, emerges as a (re-)writing of difference but inevitably questions (re-)writing as a species of fetishism.

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