1st Edition

Motherhood and Representation The Mother in Popular Culture and Melodrama

By E. Ann Kaplan Copyright 1992
    266 Pages
    by Routledge

    268 Pages
    by Routledge

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    From novels of the nineteenth century to films of the 1990s, American culture, abounds with images of white, middle-class mothers. In Motherhood and Representation, E. Ann Kaplan considers how the mother appears in three related spheres: the historical, in which she charts changing representations of the mother from 1830 to the postmodernist present; the psychoanalytic, which discusses theories of the mother from Freud to Lacan and the French Feminists; and the mother as she is figured in cultural representations: in literary and film texts such as East Lynne, Marnie and the The Handmaid's Tale, as well as in journalism and popular manuals on motherhood. Kaplan's analysis identifies two dominant paradigms of the mother as `Angel' and `Witch', and charts the contesting and often contradictory discourses of the mother in present-day America.

    Part 1 History and Theory Discourses; Chapter 1 Introduction; Chapter 2 The Historical Sphere; Chapter 3 The Psychoanalytic Sphere and Motherhood Discourse; Part 2 Motherhood and Fictional Representation; Chapter 4 Women’S Writing, Melodrama and Film; Chapter 5 The Maternal Melodrama: The Sacrifice Paradigm; Chapter 6 The Maternal Melodrama: The “Phallic” Mother Paradigm; Chapter 7 The “Resisting” Text Within the Patriarchal “Feminine”; Chapter 8 The “Resisting” Maternal Woman’S Film 1930–60; Chapter 9 Sex, Work and Mother/Fatherhood;


    E. Ann Kaplan is Professor of English and Comparative Studies and Director of the Humanities Institute at Stony Brook, the State University of New York. She is the author of Women and Film and Rocking Around the Clock, and editor of Psychoanalysis and Cinema.

    `This is scholarship at its pinnacle.' - Library Journal