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Title: Reified Bodies and Misplaced Identities in Elizabeth Bishop’s Narratives of Childhood Memories
Authors: Almeida, Diana Vieira de Campos, 1972-
Keywords: Bishop, Elizabeth, 1911-1979
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Centro de Estudos Anglísticos da Universidade de Lisboa
Citation: Anglo-Saxonica: Revista do Centro de Estudos Anglísticos, nº1
Series/Report no.: 3ª;
Abstract: Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979) starts exploring autobiographical material in her writing while living in Brazil, during the 1950s and 60s, as if diaspora enabled her to deal with issues of personal identity more openly. Focusing on the autobiographical short stories “In the Village” (1953) and “The Country Mouse” (1961), this essay looks at the representative strategies the writer chooses to portray the child protagonist’s body. Bishop’s traumatic childhood and her dislocation between borders and rural/urban landscapes (the Nova Scotia countryside and Boston) are inscribed in the protagonists’ bodily figurations, framed by a distanced narrator that highlights the tensions caused by the writer’s maternal and paternal families’ differentiated socialization practices. I will examine: i) the rhetorical strategies used by Bishop to exert formal control over her disturbing memories, namely through the reification of some of the characters’ bodies; ii) the deconstruction of the Great War victory narratives, with their strict gender distinctions. Considered the main index of personal identity in these fictional universes, the body will thus be read as a textual configuration that reflects the official discourses of citizenship in North America (Canada and the U.S.), and simultaneously resists these hegemonic proposals of identity, reclaiming its subjectivity.
Peer review: yes
ISSN: 0873-0628
Publisher Version:
Appears in Collections:CEAUL/ULICES - AS - Série III - nº 1 – 2010

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