Narratives of Motherhood and Mothering in Fiction and Life Writing

This open access volume offers original essays on how motherhood and mothering are represented in contemporary fiction and life writing across several national contexts. Providing a broad range of perspectives in terms of geopolitical places, thematic concerns, and theoretical and interdisciplinary approaches, it demonstrates the significance of literary narratives for understanding and critiquing motherhood and mothering as social phenomena and subjective experiences. The chapters contextualize motherhood and mothering in terms of their particular national and cultural location and analyze narratives about mothers who are firmly placed in one national context, as well as those who are in “in-between” positions due to migrant experiences. The contributions foreground and link together the themes central to the volume: embodied experience and maternal embodiment; notions of what is “normal” or natural (or not) about motherhood; maternal health and illness; mother-daughter relations; maternality and memory; and the (im)possibilities of giving voice to the mother. They raise questions about how motherhood and mothering are marked by absence and/or presence, as well as by profound ambivalences. The book:

  • Provides in-depth analyses of contemporary representations of motherhood and mothering in literature
  • Covers several national contexts while also demonstrating the diversity within and between these contexts
  • Collectively argues for the international emergence of maternal voices in contemporary literature
  • This book is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access