Dissatisfaction with the present can cause people to gaze nostalgically back to an idealized past; that nostalgia pervades contemporary rhetoric. In lamenting the ‘degeneracy’ of present-day America, social and literary critics as well as contemporary novelists often choose as their scapegoat the women’s movement and its increasing influence. Doane and Hodges show us how these social observers seek to ‘reinstate’ America and American values in ways that, overtly or covertly, do battle with the feminist movement for control of rhetoric, the power of language.
‘In a series of striking readings, the authors offer an important reinterpretation of contemporary "nostalgic" texts. The book is an astute work of cultural criticism, one of those that accomplishes a major re-vision of the received wisdom on the subject.’ – Joan W. Scott, Institute for Advanced Study
‘Doane and Hodges take on a number of major figures and – entirely without pretension of cant – discover fatuities and covertly defensive patriarchal strategies everywhere. I think readers will enjoy this understated audacity and that Nostalgia and Sexual Difference will be read, argued with, and accepted into the lively ongoing conversation which is feminist theory today.’ – Ann Snitow, The New School for Social Research
Preface. Introduction. 1. Monstrous Amazons 2. Feminism and the Decline of America 3. Women and the World According to Garp 4. The Anxiety of Feminist Influence 5. Feminist Scholarship as Shadow Work 6. Family Feud. Postscript. Notes. References. Index.