One of this month’s new UIP releases, Splattered Ink is a bold analysis of postfeminist gothic, a literary genre that continues to jar readers, reject happy endings, and find powerful new ways to talk about violence against women.
Sarah E. Whitney explores the genre’s challenge to postfeminist assumptions of women’s equality and empowerment. The authors she examines—Patricia Cornwell, Jodi Picoult, Susanna Moore, Sapphire, and Alice Sebold—construct narratives around socially invisible and physically broken protagonists who directly experience consequences of women’s ongoing disempowerment. Their works ask readers to inhabit women’s suffering and to face the uncomfortable, all-too-denied fact that today’s women must navigate lives fraught with risk. Whitney’s analysis places the authors within a female gothic tradition that has long given voice to women’s fears of their own powerlessness. But she also reveals the paradox that allows the genre to powerfully critique postfeminism’s often sunshiney outlook while uneasily coexisting within the same universe.