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Alien PlotsFemale Subjectivity and the Divine in the Light of James Tiptree's 'a Momentary Taste of Being'$
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Inez ven der Spek

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780853238140

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780853238140.001.0001

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. Father in Crisis, Mother Rises?

. Father in Crisis, Mother Rises?

1. The Choric Fantasy

Chapter:
(p.85) III. Father in Crisis, Mother Rises?
Source:
Alien Plots
Author(s):

Inez Van Der Spek

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9780853238140.003.0004

In her book The Mother/Daughter Plot, Marianne Hirsch investigates the divergent versions of the family romance that surface in female-authored novels by focusing on the relation between mothers and daughters. This chapter examines James Tiptree Jr's ‘A Momentary Taste of Being’, a story about alien encounter, as a mother/daughter narrative in the guise of science fiction. More specifically, it reads the text as a choric fantasy; the chora, a notion derived from Julia Kristeva, refers to the maternally connoted dimension of the construction of the subject, which stands in a dialogical relation to the paternally connoted symbolic. By reading Tiptree's text in light of Kristeva's theory, the chapter analyses the narrative text and the feminist reception of Kristeva's theory of the maternal. It also argues that mother/daughter plots in science fiction may be expressed in rather unusual and sometimes opaque terms, such as in the case of ‘A Momentary Taste of Being’.

Keywords:   family romance, mothers, daughters, James Tiptree Jr, Taste of Being, alien encounter, choric fantasy, chora, Julia Kristeva, mother/daughter plots

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