New book about motherhood and mothering in litterature


A new open access volume, Narratives of Motherhood and Mothering in Fiction and Life Writing, offers original essays on how motherhood and mothering are represented in contemporary fiction and life writing across several national contexts. It demonstrates the significance of literary narratives for understanding and critiquing motherhood and mothering as social phenomena and subjective experiences.

The chapters in this volume contextualize motherhood and mothering in terms of their particular national and cultural location and analyze narratives about mothers who are firmly placed in one national context, as well as those who are in “in-between” positions due to migrant experiences. The contributions foreground and link together the themes central to the volume: embodied experience and maternal embodiment; notions of what is “normal” or natural (or not) about motherhood; maternal health and illness; mother-daughter relations; maternality and memory; and the (im)possibilities of giving voice to the mother. They raise questions about how motherhood and mothering are marked by absence and/or presence, as well as by profound ambivalences.

The writers address, amongst other things, abortion, trans parenthood, involuntary childlessness, migrant mothers, and ambivalent motherhood. The nine chapters include:

  • Ambivalent Narratives of Motherhood and Mothering: From Normal and Natural to Not-at-all
    Helena Wahlström Henriksson, Anna Williams, Margaretha Fahlgren
  • One Hand Clapping: The Loneliness of Motherhood in Lucia Berlin’s “Tiger Bites”
    Lisa Grahn
  • “their mothers, and their fathers, and everyone in between”: Queering Motherhood in Trans Parent Memoirs by Jennifer Finney Boylan and Trystan Reese
    Elizabeth Podnieks
  • Struggling to Become a Mother: Literary Representations of Involuntary Childlessness
    Jenny Björklund
  • Orality/Aurality and Voice of the Voiceless Mother in Abla Farhoud’s Happiness Has a Slippery Tail
    Eglė Kačkutė
  • From Survivor to Im/migrant Motherhood and Beyond: Margit Silberstein’s Postmemorial Autobiography, Förintelsens Barn
    Elizabeth Kella
  • The (M)other’s Voice: Representations of Motherhood in Contemporary Swiss Writing by Women
    Valerie Heffernan
  • Contested Motherhood in Autobiographical Writing: Rachel Cusk and Sheila Heti
    Margaretha Fahlgren, Anna Williams
  • A Plea for Motherhood: Mothering and Writing in Contemporary Norwegian Literature
    Christine Hamm

The book is published by Palgrave Macmillan.
The book, Narratives of Motherhood and Mothering in Fiction and Life Writing, can be read and dowloaded in full here.
Book release 25 April at 17.00 - read more here

Last modified: 2021-09-10