González Groba, Constante. On Their Own Premises: Southern Women Writers and the Homeplace. Valencia: Universitat de València (Biblioteca Javier Coy d'estudis nord-americans), 2008. 318 pp. ISBN 978-84-370-7210-4.
Focusing on works by Kate Chopin, Elizabeth Madox Roberts, Zora Neale Hurston, Lillian Smith, Eudora Welty, Alice Walker, Lee Smith, Jill McCorkle, and Bobbie Ann Mason, this book examines the ambivalent portrayal of domestic space by southern women writers. Whereas some writers and critics emphasize the oppressive nature of domesticity to southern women, and show how the alienating illusion of safety and coherence provided by the home is often based on the exclusion of specific histories of oppression, others see the home as the place of self-affirmation, as a site of resistance grounded in strong familial ties, liberating rituals and communities of women. The wider issues of gender, race, and class are, in a traditional society like the American South, manifested precisely in the domestic sphere, where space is often a crucial means of domination. Contemporary southern women writers have often used the transformation of home and its meanings as a new source for southern fiction. They have been exploring old and new ways of imagining what a homeplace might be, and
their fiction tells us much about the ways in which work, places and family contribute to the creation of one another in the contemporary South. The disappearance of the blessing, entailing also the disappearance of the major shortcomings of the traditional stable community: the denial of flexibility, mobility and selfhood to women.
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