The Female Complaint. LAUREN BERLANT. Awful Truth about Women’s Lib. Imagine my dismay when I was virtually booed off the stage. The Female Complaint: The Unfinished Business of Sentimentality in American Culture. Lauren Gail Berlant. Duke University Press (). Lauren Berlant. Connects well with Sara Ahmed, Wendy Hesford, Leslie Bow. “ Everyone knows what the female complaint is: women live for love, and love is.

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Importantly, Berlant positions the analysis bberlant sentimentality in feminine intimate publics as both a personal project—having watched numerous female family members laursn entered femaleness at different historical moments and yet whose styles of being in femininity have contained uncanny similarities” vii —and consequently a political project of witnessing singular personhood being replaced with women’s aspiration toward general personhood.

Lauren Berlant is the George M. Please direct permission requests for these images to permissions dukeupress. I have no doubt that scholars and students will continue to debate the issues it raises for many years to come.

Thus literature marketed toward women’s culture fosters a sense of belonging, or commonality, among women based on what they feel.

Yet this book exceeded even my highest hopes and expectations. Berlant’s new work examines the ways intimate publics are constituted through and by affective connections. Imitation of Life 4. What is utopic, however, is their participation in the normative, conventional fantasy that is projected so pervasively in women’s culture.


This review will instead begin with the idea of the female complaint and then chart the key ideas offered in the beginning chapters, concluding by explicating the relevance of Berlant’s thesis to scholars of public discourse.

Citizenship and Denegation 5. Pairing literary criticism and historical analysis, Berlant explores the territory of this intimate public sphere through close readings of U.

To love a thing is not only to embrace its most banal iconic forms, but to work those forms so that individuals and populations can breathe and thrive in them or in proximity to them. To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: McKinnon The Female Complaint: Interestingly, Berlant doesn’t fully engage with the moniker of the text, the female complaint, until the second half of the book.

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The Female Complaint: The Unfinished Business of Sentimentality in American Culture

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The argument, developed through a sophisticated analysis of women’s cultural texts, is challenging and highly thought-provoking. Women at the Wheel: The first dimension of this politicizing of sentimentality is an exploration of the ways texts produced for women’s culture [End Page ] repetitively deploy the female complaint, understood here as the general sentiment that “women live for love, and love is the th that keeps on taking” 1.


Berlant: The Female Complaint | Ph.D.s and Pigtails

Although this text makes many notable theoretical contributions, the primary function of The Female Complaint is to understand berlaht fixity and power of women’s culture in molding women to perform conventionally and urging them to feel in similar ways. Queer Theory and the Death Drive. Refusing to dodge the really searching political questions for contemporary American culture, Berlant maps the tricky terrain of the intimate public sphere. Uncle Sam Needs berpant Wife: These relationships, however, are not at all the utopic fantasies for which the female characters hoped.

Notify me of new comments via email. In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Intimacy, Publicity, and Femininity. Steve and Annie assume pain the way Lora and Sarah Jane want pleasure: The Compulsion to Repeat Femininity: Create a reading list or add to an existing list. Permission to Photocopy coursepacks If you are requesting permission to photocopy material for classroom use, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center at copyright.

The Post-colonial Politics of U. This introduction is berlaant beautifully written. To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Sign up for Subject Matters email updates to receive discounts, new book announcements, and more.