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A Child of One's Own: Parental Stories [Hardcover]

Rachel Bowlby
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
RRP: 20.00
Price: 17.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

27 Jun 2013
Among the elementary human stories, parenthood has tended to go without saying. Compared to the spectacular attachments of romantic love, it is only the predictable sequel. Compared to the passions of childhood, it is just a background. But in recent decades, far-reaching changes in typical family forms and in procreative possibilities (through reproductive technologies) have brought out new questions. Why do people want (or not want) to be parents? How has the 'choice' first enabled by contraception changed the meaning of parenthood? Looking not only at new parental parts but at older parental stories, in novels and other works, this fascinating book offers fresh angles and arguments for thinking about parenthood today.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (27 Jun 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019960794X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199607945
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 306,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

...fluid and engaging... (Terri Apter, The TLS)

Here Bowlby's widely celebrated talent as a literary critic is demonstrated to quite spectacular effect. Literary critics - academics in general - are permanently aware of the pressure to make their work "relevant", and in less skilled hands the parts of this book concerned with contemporary culture might have appeared worlds away from Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. This book, however, is an instance of genuine dialogue between the contemporary and the historical ... an extraordinary level of insight. (Bryony Randall, Times Higher Education Supplement)

[Rachel Bowlby] finds some intriguing antecedents to our world of surrogacy, fertility treatment and adoption (and, brilliantly, in the case of Mary, mother of Jesus, to artificial insemination) in plot twists that are, in essence, novelists' decisions to rupture reality so as better to make it serve their specific emotional, psychological and artistic needs. (Rachel Cusk, New Statesman)

About the Author

Rachel Bowlby is Northcliffe Professor of English at University College London. Her previous books include Just Looking and Carried Away, both about the history of shopping; Still Crazy After All These Years: Women, Writing and Psychoanalysis; Shopping with Freud; Feminist Destinations and FurtherEssays on Virginia Woolf; and Freudian Mythologies: Greek Tragedy and Modern Identities.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Astute analysis with 21st century relevance 13 Jan 2014
By Zip Domingo VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
What a delightful little book analysing the role of the parent as presented in a range of historical texts. The observations are astute and thought-provoking and, indeed, supremely relevant today. Definitely worth a look.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Looks at parenthood from numerous perspectives 20 Feb 2014
By Jayne VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Friends recently became adoptive parents, and this book took my interest because is covers many questions raised by parenthood in all its different forms. The small but packed book provides a fascinating insight into changing family structures, from abortion to surrogacy to childlessness and all varieties of parenthood today.

My only criticism (if I could call it that) is that, for my tastes, the book is too literary and referenced - but then I'm a fan of sub-headings and short paragraphs. This is what I'd call an old style literary book which develop its themes gradually throughout each chapter and is designed to be read from beginning to end - not dipped in and out of. It asks for the reader's attention and concentration, rather than spoon-feeding you information. If you're more of a "Dummy's guide to ..." reader, it probably isn't for you. But then it is by a professor of English literature and, on that basis, it does exactly what it says on the tin.
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By Ioannis Glinavos VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I got this book as I am exploring the literary side of parenthood (a nice break from the practical side...). In this book Bowlby offers an intriguing cultural and literary commentary on parenthood. The book is divided into two parts, one on the cultural history of parenthood and the second on literary representations of parents in 9 literary texts from Euripides to Wharton. An excellent and illuminating read, plus a fantastic introduction to related literature.
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4.0 out of 5 stars yes. 31 Jan 2014
By buy-it-try-it VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There isnt much literature out there which deals with the life changing transition from being " not a parent" to being a parent. Todays society assumes that children are a right, yet on the whole parents keep the secrets of parenting from those who have not yet crossed the divide. I am heartened by a book which looks at the long history of parenting in literature and life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book 20 Jan 2014
By Ms. C. R. Stillman-lowe VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This Oxford University Press book sets out to address some very significant questions:

* Why do people want, or not want, to be parents?
* How has the choice first enabled by contraception changed the meaning of parenthood?

This is a scholarly work, extensively foot-noted. It includes chapters looking at the parental stories to be found in some of the most famous 19th century novels, for example 'Great Expectations' and 'Mansfield Park'.

This is an ideal book for students, but the general reader would also find the contents rewarding. Recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Child of One's Own 13 Dec 2013
By Arthur Dooley VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Rachael Bowlby's 'A Child of One's Own-Parental Stories',throws an academic eye upon the role of parenting,both historically and comtemporarily and examines issues such as surrogacy, childlessness through infertility and single parenthood,often using example from classic literature. The author who has written books on consumerism uses this area of expertise to examine motherhood and the material dynamics impinging on parent/child relationships. Overall, I found the tone a wee bit dry and academic although it managed to retain my interest until the end.
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