Thy Truth Then be Thy Dowry: Questions of Inheritance in American Women's Literature (BOK)
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This collection of essays provides new insights into the theme of inheritance in American women's writing, ranging from Emily Dickinson's appropriation of Shakespeare's legacy to Meredith Sue Willis' exploration of the tension between material inheritance and spiritual heritage in the Appalachian context. Using diverse critical and theoretical models, the twelve contributors examine women's problematic relationship to inheritance in a variety of historical, geographical, and personal contexts, bringing to the fore a number of strategies of resistance and empowerment that have helped women cope with the burden or the lack of any inheritance through the centuries. Grouped into four sections, these essays successively investigate women's attempts to grapple with the curse of personal or national inheritance, the troubled relationship with the father figure, the classic trope of the haunted, Gothic house, and the plight of more contemporary women writers who have been relegated to the dead zone of American literary inheritance. Of crucial importance for all of these writers is the tension between the home and the land, as well as questioning of intertextuality as the starting-point for a reconfiguration of the self in its relationship with the past.