Alias in women's literature: feminist aspects in a gender context

  • Iuliia Galytska Dnipro National University of Railway Transport named after Academician V. Lazaryan
Keywords: narrative, culture, interdisciplinary approach, women’s experience, androgynous nature,, identity, gender


The problem of the identity of the woman hiding her gender under a male pseudonym makes us recollect U. Eco’s arguments about the truth and the purpose of literature as well as A. F. Losev’s ideas about the name and the meaning, the theories of the feminist literary critics K. Millett, M. Ellman, T. Moi, E. Showalter, etc. who have presented "women`s writing" and "writing about women" in the feminist field. As one of the central principles of feminist criticism is that no scientific view can ever be neutral, the problem of pseudonyms occupies an important place in the contemporary gender studies, explicitly or implicitly highlighting the artificially constructed debate, which divides "serious male literature" and "superficial and secondary female writing". On the one hand, this is the problem of feminism itself, on the other, it is a question of the role and place of the woman in the world` culture and history. In this kind of the analysis we cannot ignore such an epiphenomenon of postmodernism as "label change" with the postmodern emphasis on the sociocultural role of the context, which is especially relevant in aspects of the gender "name problem". The last one, undoubtedly, is included in the problematization of postmodern culture on the whole, since all cultural narratives have always been gender "stories". Today an individual construct his or her gender-reflecting reality, still the modelling of the new gender system is far from being complete. The created sign systems are ambivalent, the meanings are very unstable and can easily be hermeneutically interpreted. However, the role of hermeneutics in analyzing the relationship between the author and the sociocultural context is in the core of the gender aspects of literature, in general, and in the problems of the pseudonym as a change of "name", in particular. The latter is by all means relevant and important. Undoubtedly, one of the main incentives for feminist scholars in their turn to women's literature is connected with the patriarchal demand for women's "silence", their "dumbness" in culture and, accordingly, in literature. Obviously, there are two main interpretations of the concept of "female literature" in feminist criticism. The first one is the representation of female subjectivity in its difference from the male one. The second approach is the representation of "non-essentialist" female subjectivity, which is understood as the logical structure of the difference. In general, in the patriarchal dichotomy of the femininity and masculinity "women who write" are always dangerous. "Three strange sisters" – Anne, Charlotte and Emily Bronte wrote their novels under disguise of male pen names, exactly specifying two conceptual motives: the "Other" concept and the image of "Veil". In this context the motive of androgyny is also important from the point of view of both analysis and literary criticism. In ХIXth century George Sand (Aurora Dupin), having most vividly represented this concept, became an example for many subsequent generations of feminists – writers, actresses and media representatives. However, in our era of gender plurality, the question of the pseudonym as a problem of "genders" is not so relevant; more likely it is still a question of the priorities in the feminist theory. In the contemporary discourse of literary criticism many of the author’s socially significant features are perceived as gender neutral. In the postmodern paradigm the question of the androgynous identity of the man/woman writer requires its further actualization as the androgynous is often replaced by the bisexuality (J. Irving` "In One Person"). In general, it should be recognized that postmodern approaches to gender identity, which paint a "picture of the world" today, transform the female experience of being as the "Other", secondary and insignificant with a conceptual orientation to a fundamental variety of postmodern cognitive perspectives.


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How to Cite
Galytska, I. (2020). Alias in women’s literature: feminist aspects in a gender context. Scientific and Theoretical Almanac Grani, 23(4), 28-35.