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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Deconstructing the other woman : Evelyn Lau and the feminist adulterer Snowden, Kim

Abstract

This thesis is an exploration of the representation of female adultery in literature from a feminist perspective. I am looking at "classic" texts of adultery that were prevalent in the 19th century and relied on a certain gendered language of adultery, placing the act of adultery and the female adulterer within a moral and social framework. This language relied on double standards and stereotypes around sexual transgressions and attitudes toward women, turning the novel of adultery into the novel of female adultery. I believe there is a feminist reading of adultery and this thesis focuses on the work of recent women writers, Margaret Atwood, Elizabeth Smart and Evelyn Lau, who all use the traditional language of adultery and subvert it, opening up a space for a feminist reading of the adultery plot. In particular I am interested in the work of Evelyn Lau and how she takes her reading of the adultery plot beyond the limited explorations of Atwood and Smart, and creates a narrative around the language and spaces of adultery. Using feminist theories of deconstruction as a framework for looking at Lau's texts, it is possible to read her narratives as potential sites for a feminist reading of female adultery.

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