Incest in Contemporary Literature

Leeson, Miles (2017) Incest in Contemporary Literature. Manchester University Press.

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The project is distinctive as it is the first time an edited collection of essays has been produced focussing on the incest taboo and its literary presentation from the 1950s to the present day and considering a number of authors rather than a single author from this period. Cultural and scientific attitudes to incest altered significantly during this time frame. Second Wave Feminist campaigners such as Erin Pizzey and Susan Brownmiller drew attention to domestic violence and the necessity for women and children to be receive greater legal recognition, so that they had greater rights over their own bodies and psychological well-being. As a result of circumstances such as the foundation of the Women’s Shelter Movement by Pizzey, and Brownmiller’s hugely influential polemical text about the relationship between rape and power, Against Our Will, incest was for the first time widely recognised as a potentially abusive practise. It was also revealed to be a prevalent occurrence within many of the families of the Western world. Whereas women and children were often considered responsible for ‘inviting abuse’, in a dramatic shift in cultural and social attitudes they were now seen as probable victims, a circumstance that led to greater legal, medical and cultural emphasis on the rights of women and children, and ultimately the protection of children. Recent news coverage in the UK has drawn attention to the significant change of attitudes towards incest, sexual abuse and childhood between 1950 and the present day. This study considers the impact of this change in attitudes on literature and literary adaptations in the latter half of the twentieth century and early years of the twenty-first century. The collection is organised into four sections each consisting of three chapters: (i) Incest and the Ordinary, (ii) Writing Incest and the Child Protagonist, (iii) Incest as Political Conceit, (iv) The Rhetoric of Incest.

Item Type: Book
Keywords: PN0080 Criticism, PN0441 Literary history
Members: University of Chichester
Depositing User: ULCC Admin
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2016 13:01
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2016 13:01

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