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Strange Women

Strange Women

(p.209) Chapter Seven Strange Women
Romanticism and the Question of the Stranger
David Simpson
University of Chicago Press

Leslie Fiedler, in 1972, identified woman as “an unassimilated, perhaps forever unassimilable, stranger, the first other of which the makers of our myths, male as far back as reliable memory runs, ever became aware.” Her statement provides the groundwork for the chapter in exploring the instances in which women have become the stranger. Throughout literary history, indeed, several figures emerge that fit into Fiedler’s statement: Medea, Medusa, Cleopatra, Morgan La Fay, and many others. The chapter explores the instances wherein women are portrayed in violence and estrangement over the dominant male, and also shows literature that explore in terms of the possibilities and limits of accepting and integrating fully strange women. Such works, in this instance include two novels by Sydney Owenson (Lady Morgan). Thus through the exploration of the history of treatment towards women, the chapter shows the differences made ten years after 9/11 and notes how far the pendulum has swung.

Keywords:   Leslie Fiedler, unassimilable, Medea, Medusa, Cleopatra, Morgan La Fay, strange women, Sydney Owenson, treatment towards women

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