The stories women tell: History, memory and countermemory in twentieth century American literature and film by women
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This dissertation focuses on literary and cinematic texts by twentieth century women writers and directors that narrate "lost histories," to use Nancy Peterson's phrase. More specifically, the texts under consideration address the silences of the past and give voice to what has been stifled in the master narrative. From this perspective, these narratives become what French historian Pierre Nora has called "sites of memory" or "lieux de memoire." All in all, these narratives can be approached as starting points for a reconsideration of American history since by focusing on what has been repressed they test the limits of patriarchal narratives and reveal certain instabilities in the various myths of patriarchy; myths that have so far been overwhelmingly white and male. The focus on women and minorities and their lost histories turns these stories into counter-stories, namely stories that challenge and resist official history. From this point of view, the new histories that emerge are counterhistories, or else, histories of resistance. Not only do they resist official history but they also resist the tendency of the postmodern culture towards amnesia, the tendency to forget or ignore the past based on the belief that everything is fluid, relevant, and thus not important.