The Voice of the Mother

The Voice of the Mother

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Every woman autobiographer is a daughter who writes and establishes her identity through her autobiographical narrative. In The Voice of the Mother, Jo Malin argues that many twentieth-century autobiographies by women contain an intertext, an embedded narrative, which is a biography of the writer/daughtera€™s mother. Analyzing this narrative practice, Malin examines ten texts by women who seem particularly compelled to tell their mothersa€™ stories: Virginia Woolf, Sara Suleri, Kim Chernin, Drusilla Modjeska, Joan Nestle, Carolyn Steedman, Dorothy Allison, Adrienne Rich, CherrAse Moraga, and Audre Lorde. Each author is, in fact, able to write her own autobiography only by using a narrative form that contains her mothera€™s story at its core. These texts raise interesting questions about autobiography as a genre and about a feminist writing practice that resists and subverts the dominant literary tradition. Malin theorizes a hybrid form of autobiographical narrative containing an embedded narrative of the mother. The textual relationship between the two narratives is unique among texts in the auto/biographical canon. This alternative narrative practicea€”in which the daughter attempts to talk both to her mother and about hera€”is equally an autobiography and a biography rather than one or the other. The technique is marked by a breakdown of subject/object categories as well as auto/biographical dichotomies of genre. Each text contains a a€œselfa€ that is more plural than singular, yet neither. In addition to being a theoretical and textual analysis, Malina€™s book is also a mother-daughter autobiography and biography itself. She shares her own story and her mothera€™s story as a way to connect directly with readers and as a way to bridge the gap between theory and practice.Embedded Maternal Narratives in Twentieth-century Womena#39;s Autobiographies Jo Malin ... This essay tells the painful story of her first ... In this chapter, Nestle, her mother, and brother take a first family vacation and a first trip west of the Mississippi and gingerly enter aquot;the shining new land of the American Westaquot; known toanbsp;...

Title:The Voice of the Mother
Author:Jo Malin
Publisher:SIU Press - 2000


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