“I am all for putting new wine in old
bottles, especially if the pressure of the new one
makes the old bottles explode”
“Notes from the Front Line”
Rewriting historical and canonical texts has been a continuing tradition in literature, but takes on particular significance in women’s revisions of literature, legends, and myths created by men. Women writers across the world have revised male texts from different epochs, particularly focusing on the representation of women as historical, legendary, and mythic subjects. In The Disobedient Writer: Women and Narrative Tradition, Nancy Walker suggests that “the practice of appropriating existing stories in one’s own work – borrowing, revising, re-contextualizing –has a long and distinguished history” (1). Historically ignored and rejected from both public and literary domains, women writers and artists have for centuries endeavored to assert themselves within the dominant cultural tradition. As part of claiming their own history, women authors, artists, and filmmakers have vocalized the silenced, subdued, and distorted lives of women represented in traditional male texts.
In “When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-Vision,” Adrienne Rich asserts that “re-vision–the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text from a new critical direction–is for women more than a chapter in cultural history: it is an act of survival” (1982). Through the arts, women have aimed to transform the male-dominated cultural tradition and to help women to move from the private sphere to the public sphere in complex and nuanced ways.
Within the framework presented above, this panel aims to bring together papers from a wide range of disciplines and cultural perspectives to explore the phenomena and archetypes of womanhood through re-writings of canonical texts, myths, and stories in films, novels, poems, plays, short stories, and art while taking a comparative approach to women’s literature and rewriting across national and cultural literature.
We invite proposals for papers that address (but are not limited to) the following topics:
Women, queer, trans studies,
Memory/ Nostalgia/ and retelling of the past