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Pain, Porn and Complicity
Women Heroes from Pygmalion to Twilight
By (author): Kathleen McConnell
9781894987684 Paperback, Trade English LITERARY CRITICISM / Feminist Jan 18, 2013
$19.00 CAD
Active 6 x 9 x 0.52 in 194 pages Wolsak and Wynn Publishers Ltd.

Why does Bella lie so much in the Twilight series? Why was Catwoman such a bad movie? What was the reason Dark Angel was so short-lived? Poet and scholar Kathleen McConnell tackles these, and other, subjects in this collection of essays. Drawing on analysis from Freud to chaos theory, and a large body of research, McConnell starts with Pygmalion, and unravels the cultural threads that bind the way women protagonists are characterized in popular culture. This careful, and at times wry, examination considers not only why women are portrayed in these ways, but discusses the effect of those characterizations on the culture that consumes them.

Kathleen McConnell's Nail Builders Plan for Strength and Growth (2002) won the Lampert Award for best first book of poems in Canada, and was a finalist for the Governor General's Award. The Hundefrulein Papers (2009) chronicles the years she spent living with, and looking after the dogs of Elisabeth Mann Borgese. After a typically peripatetic writer's life she has settled in Fredericton, New Brunswick, where she teaches Creative Writing and Women Writers in the English Department at St. Thomas University.

"McConnell's work, while wholly interesting in itself, also gives a reader a lasting lens through which to view other media. This is precisely what good theoretical explication should do." - Lemon Hound

"While I've never actually seen Dark Angel, I found this essay extremely interesting. In fact, it is due to this essay that I really want to actually watch the show now.... I enjoyed reading this, and would recommend it to those who are interested in looking a little deeper at how female heroes are portrayed in pop culture." - Once Upon a Bookshelf

"These essays manage to address their mass market subject matter with an atypical attention to detail, treating Whedon as seriously as Shakespeare, Meyer as seriously as Wollstonecraft. For any book that genuinely aims at understanding why the disturbing themes of vampires and female bondage have reached such tempestuous heights of popularity in the past few decades, McConnell's work is precisely the sort of sobering analysis readers might use to decrypt the seduction of careworn Gothic motifs across the North American zeitgeist." - The Los Angeles Review

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