Date of Award

1993

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Dr Susan Ash

Abstract

This dissertation considers how feminist crime fiction, can transform a traditionally male dominated genre. Contemporary feminist crime writers reject the codified masculine crime genre to create ever-expanding spaces for literary representation. I concentrate on three texts which are ordered as a progression. Firstly, I explore the conservative "male." writing of Jennifer Rowe in The Makeover Murders. I then go on to The Life and Crimes of Harry Lavender by Marele Day which privileges a concern with the socio-political position of women and their access to socio-political power. The last text, Finola Moorhead's Still Murder, is a radical work of feminist literature, as it critically engages with areas of French feminist theory, particularly that of Julia Kristeva, Helene Cixous and Luce Irigaray. These different strands of feminist thought signify a range of positions within the feminist movement. In my texts, however, I will argue that they become a mutually exclusive division. Different "feminisms" create certain limitations for women, and although I suggest how these limitations are reproduced in the texts, I argue nevertheless that The Life and Crimes of Harry Lavender and Still Murder in particular offer positive representations of contemporary women. In doing so, they signal a feminist use of genre which is non-structured and flexible, creating a range of possibilities for social and theoretical empowerment, for feminist writers and readers alike.