The New Audacity

The Centre for Contemporary Literature is delighted to welcome Dr Jennifer Cooke (Loughborough University) for a research lecture and discussion titled "The New Audacity." The lecture will take place on Wednesday 27 May 2020, 6-7.30pm BST.

This lecture will introduce Dr Jennifer Cooke's research, focussing in particular on her recently published monograph, Contemporary Feminist Life-writing: The New Audacity (Cambridge University Press, 2020), giving a broad overview of the book’s main arguments and theoretical commitments. Contemporary Feminist Life-writing is the first scholarly monograph to identify and analyse the ‘new audacity’ of recent feminist writings from life. Characterised by boldness in both style and content, willingness to explore difficult and disturbing experiences, the refusal of victimhood, and a lack of respect for traditional genre boundaries, new audacity writing takes risks with its author’s and others’ reputations, and even, on occasion, with the law. Over five chapters, Jennifer Cooke offers an examination and critical assessment of new audacity in works by Katherine Angel, Alison Bechdel, Marie Calloway, Virginie Despentes, Tracey Emin, Sheila Heti, Juliet Jacques, Chris Krauss, Jana Leo, Maggie Nelson, Vanessa Place, Paul Preciado, and Kate Zambreno. The book analyses how they write about women’s self-authorship, trans experiences, struggles with mental health, sexual violence and rape, and the desire for sexual submission. Cooke engages with recent feminist and gender scholarship, providing discussions of vulnerability, victimhood, authenticity, trauma, and affect. 

The lecture will be hosted by Dr Caroline Edwards and followed by a live Q&A as well as discussion with the writer and academic Dr Katherine Angel, whose work is featured in Contemporary Feminist Life-Writing: The New Audacity.

Click here to join the lecture online live on Wednesday 27 May 2020, 6-7.30pm BST.

Click here to access an audiovideo recording of the lecture or watch below via our CCL YouTube channel.



Author bio

Dr Jennifer Cooke is Senior Lecturer in English at Loughborough University and chair of the Gendered Lives Research Group. She is author of Contemporary Feminist Life-writing: The New Audacity (Cambridge University Press, 2020) and of Legacies of Plague in Literature, Theory, and Film (Palgrave, 2009).  She is the editor of the forthcoming collection of essays, The New Feminist Literary Studies (CUP, 2020). Previous publications include editing Scenes of Intimacy: Reading, Writing and Theorizing Contemporary Literature (Bloomsbury Academic, 2013) and a special issue of Textual Practice on challenging intimacies and psychoanalysis (September 2013). Follow her on Twitter @JenniferACooke.   


Featured image by Giuseppe Milo under a CC BY license.


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