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Feminist Review

, Volume 107, Issue 1, pp 37–56 | Cite as

feminism and futurity: revisiting Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time

  • Sam McBean
Article

Abstract

This article considers the question of feminist futurity through Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time (1976). While dominant readings of this novel have focused on its relationship to the feminist utopian genre and feminist theory from the 1970s, this essay aims to critically reframe the novel through contemporary feminist theorising on time and futurity. Drawing on recent feminist and queer theory that suggests that the future might most productively be figured through more nuanced and renewed engagements with the past, I argue that readings of Piercy’s novel that frame it only through its contemporary moment obscure the novel’s critique of singular, linear models of time. The novel represents the future through the themes of loss, mourning and haunting, which I argue resist a model of time that moves linearly from past to future and instead bring the past and future into complex relation with each other. In this regard, Piercy’s novel is read as representing a form of feminist futurity that engages with progress in time as necessarily uneven, discontinuous and fractured, speaking to contemporary demands for a feminist futurity that might require more nuanced accounts of the past.

Keywords

feminist theory feminist science fiction queer theory futurity 

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Copyright information

© Feminist Review 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sam McBean

There are no affiliations available

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