This book examines the representation of the female fertility cycle in contemporary Algerian, Mauritian, and French women’s writing. It focuses on menstruation, childbirth, and the menopause whilst also incorporating experiences such as miscarriage and abortion. This study frames its analysis of contemporary women’s writing by looking back to the pioneering work of the second-wave feminists. Second-wave feminist texts were the first to break the silence on key aspects of female experience which had thus far been largely overlooked or considered taboo. Second-wave feminist works have been criticised for applying their ‘universal’ theories to all women, regardless of their ethnicity, socio-economic status, or sexuality. This book argues that contemporary women’s writing has continued the challenge against normative perceptions of the body that was originally launched by the second-wave feminists, whilst also taking a more nuanced, contextual and intersectional approach to corporeal experience. The cross-cultural and interdisciplinary approach of this book is informed not only by critics of the second-wave feminist movement but also by sociological studies which consider how women’s bodily experiences are shaped by socio-cultural context.
"This is an outstanding book. It builds upon existing scholarship on the representation of women’s bodies and life stages to generate new understandings of an important topic. The theoretical framework is articulated astutely and brought to bear upon literary texts in sensitive and innovative ways. Its cross-cultural comparison adds a richness to its argument. This will be essential reading for researchers in French and Francophone literatures, women’s writing and gender studies."
Natalie Edwards, The University of Adelaide