Rodríguez-Salas, Gerardo , & Andrés-Cuevas, Isabel María

The Aesthetic Construction of the Female Grotesque in Katherine Mansfield
and Virginia Woolf: A Study of the Interplay of Life and Literature.
Lewiston, Queenston, Lampeter: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2011. ISBN10:  0-7734-1565-3  ISBN13:  978-0-7734-1565-2    Pages:  152   

This comparative study of the works of Katherine Mansfield and Virginia
Woolf explores the parallel development by both authors of a grotesque
aesthetics, which defies the social and patriarchal standards of Edwardian
life, particularly as regards gender issues and power relations. This
study reveals for the first time a close similarity in the deployment of
monstrous images, of a metaphorical cannibalism, and a systematic mockery,
disparagement, and inversion, amounting to a grotesque paradigm underlying
the narratives of both Mansfield and Woolf. On this basis, the corpus of
their fictional works unfolds in our study to reveal the ideological
implications entailed by this recourse to the grotesque, as well as the
narrators’ ultimate intentionality and the neglected links between them
as writers facing the same issues in the same age. Accordingly, our
analysis contributes to the development of a new framework for the
interpretation of the narrative works of Katherine Mansfield and Virginia
Woolf, which opens up across the field of female fiction.


“…one of the most original and engaging comparisons yet made between
the work of Woolf and Mansfield.” – Prof. Angela Smith (Emeritus),
University of Stirling

“…offers a fresh perspective on how we may read both women
writers….the way in which subversion is woven into every fiber of their
works [is] strengthened, deepened, and illuminated by this new study.”
– Prof. Merry Pawlowski, California State University, Bakersfield

Table of Contents:


Foreword Professor Vincent O’Sullivan

Introduction: A Public Meal for Two

Chapter 1: Contextualizing the Female Grotesque and Cannibalism

Parodying Femininity: Mimicry and Masquerade
The Maternity Debate
The Female Grotesque
Theorizing Cannibalism

Chapter 2: ‘My Insides Are All Twisted Up’: The Female Grotesque and

A Big Shadow with a Grown-Up Baby
Maternity and Submission
Maternity and Rebellion
A Boar in the Nursery: Repulsive Images of Maternity

Chapter 3: Cannibalism and Gender

Hot Meat: Female Victimization by Men
She is a Man Eater: Male Victimization by Women
Mulier Mulieri Lupa: Female Victimization by Women

Chapter 4: Cannibalism and Power Relations

‘Give ‘em a Bone’: Cannibalism and the Inversion of the Father-Child
‘Be Merciful Unto Me, O God, [...] for Man Goeth about to Devour Me’:
The Devouring Action of the British Empire


Appendix I. List of Abbreviations



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