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Title: Re-reading Eduard Vilde’s Mäeküla Piimamees: liminal silence as “queering” dramatic irony
Authors: Theo, Lincoln John 
Keywords: Eduard Vilde;mäeküla piimamees;feminist;queering;dramatic irony;threshold chronotope;constitutive liminality;phenomenology
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Source: Theo, L. J. 2021. Re-reading Eduard Vilde’s Mäeküla Piimamees: liminal silence as “queering” dramatic irony. Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, 29(2): 96-109. []
Journal: Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research 
Abstract: Although the female protagonist in novel Mäeküla Piimamees serves as an instance of early 20th century Estonian feminism, a re-reading based in Derridean différance reveals that Mari also “queers” the narrative through delivering its dramatic irony. Alongside a notable body of early twentieth century Nordic literature, the text writes a “trope of silence” that constructs Mari as a “liminal” character in three interlinked ways. A Bakhtinian threshold chronotope delivers a “here-and-there” logic that underpins the storylines of all the characters, while writing Mari as socially “betwixt-and-between” and the male characters as outsiders, thereby delivering the feminist message of women’s right to individuality and equality. In terms of Merleau-Ponty’s construct of embodied experience as constitutive liminality, Mari is further rendered as emotionally self-prepossessed and mature, as opposed to the men’s anxiety, deference to power and dependence on her for their value. Through the notion of queer “orientation”, the way in which Mari willingly takes on the role of mistress challenges assumptions about her role as dutiful wife and subservient servant, leaving her standing alongside other literary characters that challenge heteronormative conventions.
ISSN: 0803-8740
Appears in Collections:BUS - Journal Articles (DHET subsidised)

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