“THE KINSHIP OF HER PAIN”: INTIMATE HEALING IN AMERICAN WOMEN’S FICTION
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“‘the kinship of her pain:’ Intimate Healing in American Women’s Fiction” argues that in nineteenth and twentieth century American literature, women who teach each other about religion harness erotic power to upend patriarchal family structures. By attending to the nexus of theology, speculation, and homosocial religious devotion in sentimental and Afrofuturist fiction, I illuminate religiosity as a site of healing intimacy and the formation of non-heteronormative families. I organize my dissertation chapters thematically rather than chronologically, such that my first chapter on Phelps’ 1868 The Gates Ajar is followed by Octavia Butler’s 1998 Parable of the Talents. My third and final chapter returns to the nineteenth century with Warner’s 1850 The Wide, Wide World, and my conclusion addresses Toni Morrison’s Paradise.
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