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Classics in the Modern WorldA Democratic Turn?$
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Lorna Hardwick and Stephen Harrison

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199673926

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199673926.001.0001

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Female Voices

Female Voices

The Democratic Turn in Ali Smith’s Classical Reception

Chapter:
(p.287) 21 Female Voices
Source:
Classics in the Modern World
Author(s):

Fiona Cox

Elena Theodorakopoulos

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199673926.003.0021

This chapter is a study of Girl Meets Boy, Ali Smith’s reworking of Ovid’s myth of Iphis and Ianthe. Smith democratizes the myth, as in her hands its protagonists are working-class Scottish girls. At the same time her network of allusions to A Midsummer Night’s Dream carefully roots her response to Ovid in the very literary tradition that has marginalized women and gay and lesbian writers. She is caught, then, in the same dilemma as that which Jeanette Winterson depicts in her autobiography Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? By taking Smith as a case study we examine the factors that continue to militate against women writers receiving the same recognition as men even in a post-feminist age, while analysing the devices she uses to help transform the literary landscape into a more democratic and enabling force.

Keywords:   Ovid, Smith, Winterson, lesbian, post-feminist

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