We too shall be mothers : her story, our story, history: feminism and postmodernism in the contemporary historical novel

Muirden, Sallie (2001) We too shall be mothers : her story, our story, history: feminism and postmodernism in the contemporary historical novel. Research Master thesis, Victoria University of Technology.


This Master of Arts thesis is in two parts : a novel, We Too Shall Be Mothers, (WTSBM) and an exegesis which positions the novel in relation to several strands of contemporary theory and fiction. The novel is set during the French Revolution in the southern French city of Avignon and in Vienna, the capital of the Hapsburg Empire. WTSBM tells the story of a fictional nun, Marie-France, who leaves her Carmelite convent and embarks on a journey towards motherhood and fully sexualised adulthood. The exegesis contains three main strands of theorisation. First, it illustrates the profound influence of feminist psychoanalytic theory on WTSBM, but also argues that the novel reformulates and departs from specific aspects of the feminist psychoanalytic paradigm. Second, the exegesis argues that WTSBM can be classified as a 'postmodernist, revisionist, historical novel', which can be positioned alongside other postmodernist, historical literature. Third, the exegesis argues that WTSBM can be located within contemporary issues of feminist politics, particularly issues of gender, sexuality and relationship, which are also evident in Jeanette Winterson's The Passion (1987). The research material for this thesis has come from a range of sources. Primary sources include field visits to the European cities of Avignon and Vienna. Secondary sources include literary theory, novels, and newspaper reviews, as well as historical monographs and works of religious philosophy and autobiography.

Additional Information

Master of Arts.

Item type Thesis (Research Master thesis)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/18195
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Communication and the Arts
Historical > FOR Classification > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing
Historical > FOR Classification > 2005 Literary Studies
Keywords Australian literature, historical fiction, criticism, postmodernism, feminism, motherhood, religion, sexuality
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