Re-Writing Woman: Genre Politics and Female Identity in Kate Grenville’s Dreamhouse


As a feminist Qovel of self-discovery, Dreamhouse works within a framework of realism, put also draws on the codes and conventions of a number of different narrative modes. It could be described, in fact, as a generic miscellany, which, self-consciously and often playfully, places its fictional heroine in different generic contexts. In this way, the novel depicts its central character and narrator, Louise Dufrey, both as a 'real' person and as consciously textualised, the product of representation. And whilst the novel presents 'woman' as a textual, and hence ideologically provisional, construct, It ultimately reinstates the more traditional concept of individual agency - the self as a more or less coherent and unified entity, capable of choice and change. This article discusses the exploration of female identity in Dreamhouse specifically in relation to its use of genre and intertextuality. What emerges is a novel of considerable formal interest and political relevance for feminist theories of the subject.

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Published 1 May 1993 in Volume 16 No. 1. Subjects: Feminist theory, Gothic, Human body, Italy, Myths & legends, Narrative techniques, Sexuality & sexual identity, Kate Grenville.

Cite as: Midalia, Susan. ‘Re-Writing Woman: Genre Politics and Female Identity in Kate Grenville’s Dreamhouse.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 16, no. 1, 1993, doi: 10.20314/als.243254c74d.