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Review of Justine Picardie's Daphne

Carpenter, Ginette (2009) Review of Justine Picardie's Daphne. Women: A Cultural Review, 20 (1). pp. 89-96. ISSN 1470-1367

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Abstract

This review essay presents a review of Justine Picardie's novel Daphne, setting it within a critical context. It opens by claiming that Daphne articulates several contemporary literary debates: it specifically addresses the location of the woman writer and reader and the relationship between author and text. The essay illustrates how Picardies's tripartite narrative works both to revise Rebecca and to re-position du Maurier as an author worthy of academic attention. The novel's extensive use of intertextuality and its own hybridisation of fiction and biography are seen to operate as an analogy for the complexities and pleasures of reading, writing and research. This essay is sympathetic to the recuperation of the popular woman writer and popular women's writing but argues that Daphne's transgressive potential resides in its repeated slippage between the textual and the material, as highlighted by its imbrication of biographical fact and fictional narrative. It concludes by suggesting that these transgressive elements also work to foreground the ethical contradictions of reading and writing.

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