Stein, Woolf, and Winterson subvert traditional understandings of time and memory to create identity

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Radomski, Kelsey
Stein , Woolf , Winterson , Identity , Narrative , Subversion
Though each writer has her own format, it can be argued that Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, and the more contemporary Jeanette Winterson are all radical thinkers in the way that they reshape the literary genres that revolve around “identity” – memoir, biography, and historical novel – challenging the way readers consider normative ideas about the individual, the family, and the way narrative articulates social values and hierarchies. Drawing on the analysis of several contemporary literary scholars who focus on feminist and gender theory, this paper suggests that Stein, Woolf, and Winterson have subverted common ideas about the way time and memory work to create an identity that undermines the restrictions society deems as “normal.” The implications of their work vividly resonate for new generations of readers transgressing their own society's heteronormative boundaries of identity construction.