Through a critical discussion of an array of written and visual texts that feature a writer as a main character, Geniuses, Addicts, and Scribbling Women: Portraits of the Writer in Popular Culture argues for a more nuanced conception of the role of writers in society, their relationships with their reading publics, the portrayals and realities of their labor, and the construction of a “writing” identity.
Expounding upon the critical genre of authorship studies, the contributors take on complex issues such as economics, professionalization, gender politics, and writing pedagogy to shape the dialogue around the nature of representation and the practice of narrative. Ultimately, contributors consider the ways in which debates over art, craft, authorial celebrity, and the literary marketplace define the parameters of culture in a given period and influence the work of culture producers. The implications of such an analysis reveal much about the status and value of creative writers and their work.
This collection covers a wide range of historical periods offering a complex understanding of representations of writers from the medieval period to the Netflix era. Such an evolution challenges the perception of the writer as a monolithic presence in society and highlights its multiplicity, diversity, and its transformations through cultural and political movements.
Cynthia Cravens is associate professor of English at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
Introduction: Geniuses, Addicts, and Scribbling Women: Portraits of the Writer in Popular Culture
Chapter One: Finding Their Way: Coming of Age as a Writer in John Irving’s The World According to Garp and A Widow for One Year
Megan A. Anderson
Chapter Two: Traveling with Writers: Gender, Genre, and Creativity in Bleaker House and Less
Chapter Three: The Narrating Serpent: Two Distinct Representations of Authorship in Thomas Nashe’s The Unfortunate Traveller
Chapter Four: Public Personas of Dangerous Men: Killing Constructed Identities with Suicide by Sequel
Chapter Five: Follow the Lead: The Evolving Story of Lois Lane and Her Writing
Chapter Six: Scribbling Pleasure: Undertaking the Sentence of Desire
Amy B. Hagenrater-Gooding
Chapter Seven: Jane-as-Fanny: Patricia Rozema’s Woman Writer in Mansfield Park
Melanie D. Holm
Chapter Eight: From Silly Lady Novelists to Celebrity Male Modernists: Gender and the Representation of Authorship in Fiction 1850-1949
Chapter Nine: Re-gendering Genre: Self-Conscious Supernaturalism in Muriel Spark’s The Comforters
Chapter Ten: The Evolution of Daredevil’s Karen Page: From Damsel-in-Distress to Writer-Hero
A fascinating study of a subject writers have fixated on since first a pen was lifted to create narrative: their own iconic profession. From the Victorian starving artist in the garret to genre-bending contemporary memoirists, from transgressive authors to the storyteller as superhero, this volume examines, from every angle, the representation of the writer in popular and literary culture. In this crooked mirror held up to the writer’s own craft we learn much about the compulsion to create narrative, and what it means to live and work as a dealer in words.