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Feminism and the politics of literary reputation : the example of Erica Jong /
Charlotte Templin.
Lawrence, Kan. : University Press of Kansas, c1995.
xii, 233 p. ; 24 cm.
0700607080 (cloth : alk. paper)
More Details
Lawrence, Kan. : University Press of Kansas, c1995.
0700607080 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [205]-220) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1995-07:
Through personal interviews and painstaking research, Templin (Univ. of Indianapolis) has produced the definitive account of Erica Jong and her writing. This thoughtful study explores Jong's oeuvre and includes chapters on her most famous books, including Fear of Flying (1976) and Fanny (1980). In particular, Templin is interested in Jong's literary reputation and questions why the author has never achieved wide critical acclaim. Templin explores how Jong's gender and the popularity of her fiction have influenced the critical reception of her books. Although Templin's study is insightful, her ideas also have broad critical implication and raise many questions. What role do reviews play in a book's success? In what way does the personal reception of an author influence her literary reputation? How does popularity influence a book's critical reception? Can a writer be a popular as well as a literary success? The book insightfully explores these issues and others, making it a must read for anyone interested in how popularity and financial success affect an author's literary reputation. Because of its clarity, this book would be suitable reading for a broad audience, including undergraduates, graduates, and professors. S. A. Inness; Miami University
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1995-02-20:
Templin, professor of English at the University of Indianapolis, here analyzes the critical response to the writings of Erica Jong (Fear of Flying) and argues that the reviewing establishment is steeped in patriarchal attitudes hostile to women writers. Jong's female characters, who revel in their sexuality, Templin contends, challenge male-dictated cultural values and threaten a literary establishment that denigrates her work and dismisses her as a publicity seeker. Although Templin marshals some interesting evidence-documenting a correlation between positive reviews and the amount of advertising space publishers buy, as well as pointing out the critical success male writers have had in dealing with sexual issues-her thesis is overwritten. Clearly a Jong devotee, Templin includes far too many quotes from reviewers to support a viewpoint that is repeatedly stated. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, February 1995
Choice, July 1995
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Main Description
Soon after its publication in 1973, Fear of Flying brought Erica Jong immense popular success and media fame. Alternately pegged sassy and vulgar, Jongs novel embraced the politics of the womens liberation movement and challenged the definition of female sexuality. Yet today, more than twenty years and several books later, literary reputation continues, for the most part, to elude Jong. Typecast by her adversaries as a media-seeking sensationalist, Erica Jong has been unfairly side-stepped by academia, Charlotte Templin contends. In this carefully researched study augmented by personal interviews with Jong, Templin assembles and analyzes the medley of responses to Jongs books by reviewers, critics, writers, academics, and the media-by liberals, conservatives, and feminists. She examines the diverse opinions on the merit and relevance to contemporary life of Fear of Flying; the invocation of a high culture/low culture dichotomy to discredit How to Save Your Own Life; the anatomy of literary success with Fanny; Jongs reception in a postfeminist age, and the trivialization of Jongs works that is inevitable with mass media exposure. Templin also shows how antagonistic reviewers tend to identify Jong with her fictitious characters-a practice more common when the author is a woman-and judge her to be guilty of the sin of not being a "proper woman." In turn she shows how reviewers reveal something of their own values and ideological biases in their critiques and how literary reputations are built, destroyed, and altered over time. The first book to make a detailed examination of the reputation of a woman writer, Feminism and the Politics of Literary Reputation provides an excellent case study for the literary reception of women writers within a broad cultural context. Templins analysis offers valuable insight into the reception of women writers-especially commercially successful women writers-and dramatically illustrates the relation of literary reputation to popular appeal and cultural mores. .
Unpaid Annotation
"A must read for anyone interested in how gender, popularity, and financial success affect an author's literary reputation". -- Choice. "A pioneering book. Templin demonstrates clearly that the literary canon is not only about what people like to read; it concerns what ideas and values will prevail in the society at large". -- Jay Parini, author of The Last Station. "Templin raises important issues about the peculiar position of the woman writer in the popular imagination". -Nancy A. Walker, author of Feminist Alternatives.
Table of Contents
Can It Be Good Literature If It's Funny, Sexy, and Written by a Woman?p. 1
Evaluative Communities in the Reception of Fear of Flyingp. 26
How to Save Your Own Life: Mass Culture, Gender, and Cultural Authorityp. 65
Fanny: The Anatomy of a Literary Successp. 103
Jong in a Postfeminist Age: The Last Three Novelsp. 129
Jong among the Academicsp. 167
Conclusion: Literary Reputation in the Real Worldp. 182
Notesp. 189
Bibliographyp. 205
Indexp. 221
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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