LAUREN BERLANT THE FEMALE COMPLAINT PDF

Sentimentality and complaint are central to this commercial convention of critique; their relation to the political realm is ambivalent, as politics seems both to threaten sentimental values and to provide certain opportunities for their extension. Pairing literary criticism and historical analysis, Berlant explores the territory of this intimate public sphere through close readings of U. The Female Complaint is a major contribution from a leading Americanist. It is, however, thoroughly rewarding and worth the time it takes to fully engage with the content.

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Sentimentality and complaint are central to this commercial convention of critique; their relation to the political realm is ambivalent, as politics seems both to threaten sentimental values and to provide certain opportunities for their extension. Pairing literary criticism and historical analysis, Berlant explores the territory of this intimate public sphere through close readings of U.

The Female Complaint is a major contribution from a leading Americanist. It is, however, thoroughly rewarding and worth the time it takes to fully engage with the content. I will keep returning to this book as I work through its implications for understanding how to confront a world with such extreme social inequalities.

The Female Complaint is an uncannily hopeful book, finding value and possibility in a wholly nonredemptive account of convention. You will also have an irresistible craving to watch Now, Voyager one more time, in whatever setting enables you to thrive, and to give this fascinating book to someone who deserves to love better, or to forgive herself for just getting by.

Yet this book exceeded even my highest hopes and expectations. Refusing to dodge the really searching political questions for contemporary American culture, Berlant maps the tricky terrain of the intimate public sphere.

She has written a phenomenal study of breathtaking scope. I have no doubt that scholars and students will continue to debate the issues it raises for many years to come.

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The Female Complaint: The Unfinished Business of Sentimentality in American Culture

Aug 09, ralowe rated it it was amazing the chapter about dorothy parker made me cry in dolores park. Or some combination of several of these! Berlant acknowledges a side of identity that I agree is important: the possibility that identity performance can be imitation and salve rather than innovation and salvation. Berlant is interested in genres of "female complaint," ruptures in melodramatic or conventional texts that indicate the insufficiency of feminine types and heteronormative narratives to encompass a satisfactory version of identity. Appropriately, her form of literary criticism also enacts complaint. Most of the chapters center around political failures that are aestheticized.

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The Female Complaint

To love a thing is not only to embrace its most banal iconic forms, but to work those forms so that individuals and populations can breathe and thrive in them or in proximity to them. The convention is not only a mere placeholder for what could be richer in an underdeveloped social imaginary, but it is also sometimes a profound placeholder that provides an affective confirmation of the idea of a shared confirming imaginary in advance of inhabiting a material world in which that feeling can actually be lived. When a success, this is called reciprocity. The sentimental bargain of femininity… receives her own value back not only in the labor of recognition she performs but in the sensual spectacle of its impacts. In this discursive field the emotional labor of women places them at the center of the story of what counts as life, regardless of what lives women actually live: the conjuncture of family and romance so structures the emergence of modern sexuality, with its conflation of sexual and emotional truths, and in that nexus femininity marks the scene of the reproduction of life as a project… to be proximate to this story of emotional centrality. Why write the history of these privileged, mostly white and straight women, Berlant asks?

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