Postfeminist Authorial Corpography Winona Ryder and the 1990s Woman Author Cycle

Marie-Alix Thouaille

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Abstract

This article explores the gendering of the authorial body in Little Women (Gillian Armstrong, 1994), How to Make an American Quilt (Jocelyn Moorhouse, 1995), and Girl, Interrupted (James Mangold, 1999). As I will show, Ryder’s 1990s woman author cycle mobilises female authorship’s unruly connotations of female self-determination and autonomy, so that the Ryder figure emerges as an ideal vehicle for the enactment of feminist-inflected agency. Crucially, however, these feminist signifiers exist alongside conservative narrative trajectories which attempt to contain, contextualise, or frame the oppositional potential of this figure. Through these contradictory discursive movements, I argue, Ryder’s woman author films engage a set of sophisticated recuperative manoeuvres associated with postfeminism. In this way, this article sheds light on the hitherto overlooked ways in which the female author figure has come to function as a signifier of the contradictions and ambiguities constitutive of postfeminism, the role of Ryder’s star persona in this signification, as well as the implications of this film cycle for the broader conceptualisation of « The Author ».
Original languageEnglish
JournalInterférences littéraires
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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