Front cover image for The female complaint : the unfinished business of sentimentality in American culture

The female complaint : the unfinished business of sentimentality in American culture

The Female Complaint is part of Lauren Berlant's groundbreaking "national sentimentality" project charting the emergence of the U.S. political sphere as an affective space of attachment and identification. In this book, Berlant chronicles the origins and conventions of the first mass-cultural "intimate public" in the United States, a "women's culture" distinguished by a view that women inevitably have something in common and are in need of a conversation that feels intimate and revelatory. As Berlant explains, "women's" books, films, and television shows enact a fantasy that a woman's life is not just her own, but an experience understood by other women, no matter how dissimilar they are. The commodified genres of intimacy, such as "chick lit," circulate among strangers, enabling insider self-help talk to flourish in an intimate public. Sentimentality and complaint are central to this commercial convention of critique; their relation to the political realm is ambivalent, as politics seems both to threaten sentimental values and to provide certain opportunities for their extension
Print Book, English, 2008
Duke University Press, Durham, 2008
xiv, 353 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
9780822341840, 9780822342021, 9780822389163, 0822341840, 0822342022, 0822389169
Poor Eliza
Pax Americana : the case of Show boat
National brands, national body : Imitation of life
Uncle Sam needs a wife : citizenship and denegation
Remembering love, forgetting everything else : Now, voyager
"It's not the tragedies that kill us, it's the messes" : femininity, formalism, and Dorothy Parker
The compulsion to repeat femininity : Landscape for a good woman and The life and loves of a she-devil