1st Edition

Getting Personal Feminist Occasions and Other Autobiographical Acts

By Nancy K. Miller Copyright 1992

    In the era of identity politics, whose is the I of cultural criticism? And what does the invention of an autobiographical persona have to do with contemporary theory? In Getting Personal , Nancy K. Miller reflects upon the ways in which contingencies of identity and location shape the writing of academic argument and the living of an academic life.
    Getting Personal explores the new territory of feminist cultural studies and its connections to literary interpretation. The book is organized around a number of academic scenes in which Miller analyses the stakes of feminist critical performance. The focus on occasions, from the conference to the seminar to the professional colloquium, produces an autobiographical perspective on the mini-drama of institutional politics - whether faculty struggles over the canon in elite universities, or student strivings for self-authorization in large urban ones. Writing as a feminist critic, Miller describes the dilemmas of a responsible pedogogic practice: the contradictory demands of authority and complicity for a feminist teacher of literature.
    Getting Personal examines the rhetorical strategies of a feminism traversed by internal debates over its own self-representations. Working through and among quotations of voices that might otherwise not address each other, Miller assesses a crisis and offers a project for moving on.

    Chapter 1 Getting Personal: Autobiography as Cultural Criticism; Chapter 2 Untitled Work, Or, Speaking as a Feminist …; Chapter 3 A Feminist Teacher in the Graduate Classroom; Chapter 4 The French Mistake; Chapter 5 Parables and Politics: Feminist Criticism in 1986; Chapter 6 Dreaming, Dancing, awd Changing Locations of Feminist Criticism, 1988; Chapter 7 Philoctetes' Sister: Feminist Literary Criticism and the New Misogyny; Chapter 8 Teaching Autobiography; Chapter 9 My Father's Penis;


    Nancy K. Miller is Distinguished Professor of English at the Graduate Center, City University of New York and Lehman College. She is the author of Changing the Subject (1988), The Heroine's Text (1982), and editor of The Poetics of Gender (1986), as well as the author of numerous critical essays on gender and sexuality, feminist theory, and on French literature of the 18th and 19th centuries.

    "...an engaging reply to the anti-feminist backlash in the academy and the ongoing war over the place of critical theory." -- Publisher's Weekly