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Tania Modleski ( - )

Related feminist film theory - post-feminism - women's fiction

'The damned mob of scribbling women,' as Nathaniel Hawthorne labeled them, is at it again. Women writers have created a new genre called 'chick lit' that is ruffling the feathers of the literary establishment. In this pioneering book female critics take a serious look at what the genre has begotten thus far and consider its place in literary history, which has long cast a dubious eye on books written by women solely to please themselves and other women. -–Tania Modleski, reviewing Chick Lit: The New Woman's Fiction (2005) by Suzanne Ferriss


Tania Modleski is an American post-feminist literary and film theorist. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tania Modleski [Aug 2006]

Loving with a Vengeance (1982) - Tania Modleski

Loving with a Vengeance (1982) - Tania Modleski [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

First sentence: "Although Harlequin Romances, Gothic novels, and soap operas provide mass(ive) entertainment for countless numbers of women of varying ages, classes, and even educational backgrounds, very..."

Tania Modleski's study of three forms of women's popular narratives — Harlequin romances, gothic novels, and TV soap operas — seems to me a work of major significance not merely for women's studies or popular culture but for film studies as well. Since JUMP CUT readers might overlook it, I hope in this review to indicate its relevance to current debates in film theory. The author undertook the study

“out of concern that these narratives were not receiving the right kind of attention. I try to avoid expressing either hostility or ridicule, to get beneath the embarrassment, which I am convinced provokes both the anger and the mockery, and to explore the reasons for the deep-rooted and centuries old appeal of the narratives. Their enormous and continuing popularity, I assume, suggests that they speak to very real problems and tensions in women's lives. The narrative strategies that have evolved for smoothing over these tensions can tell us much about how women have managed not only to live in oppressive circumstances but to invest their situations with some degree of dignity” (pp. 14-15).

In this way the author takes on and manages to modify some tendencies in feminist criticism that heretofore have circumscribed a serious consideration of women's mass culture. Arguing against the view taken by Ann Douglas that Harlequins appeal in a purely escapist fashion to feminine masochism, Modleski avoids the elitist position of condemning women who enjoy these works. In arguing against the now dominant Laura Mulvey position that all narrative pleasure is male pleasure, she counters convincingly that soap operas represent a specifically female form of narrative pleasure. All of this is accomplished within a work that combines theoretical sophistication with a firm sense of political commitment and clarity of prose style. --Jane Feuer, 1984, Jump Cut, no. 29 via http://www.ejumpcut.org/archive/onlinessays/JC29folder/FeuerOnModleski.html [Aug 2006]

The Terror of Pleasure (1984) - Tania Modleski

The Terror of Pleasure (1984) - Tania Modleski [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Tania Modleski in "The Terror of Pleasure" (1986:159), for instance, presents exploitation horror films as attacks on the basic aspects of bourgeois culture. Thus a loving father cannibalizes his child, and priests turn into servants of the devil. Other scholars (e.g. Clem Robyns, 1991)claim that, by presenting their perversion as supernatural, or at least pathological, horror films precisely contribute to perpetuating those institutions. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popular_culture_studies#The_possibility_of_a_.22subversive.22_popular_culture [Nov 2004]

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