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Novy, Marianne L.

Reading Adoption: Family and Difference in Fiction and Drama

Reading Adoption explores the ways in which novels and plays portray adoption, and suggests how these representations have contributed to general perceptions of adoptive parents, adoptees, and birth parents. Marianne Novy reads a range of authors, including Sophocles, Shakespeare, George Eliot, Dickens, Barbara Kingsolver, Edward Albee and others, to observe how these works address the question of what makes a parent. She identifies repeated themes such as differences between adoptive parents and children, fantasies of mirroring between adoptees and their birth parents, and the relationship between nature and nurture. She meditates on how her relationships with her adoptive parents, her birth mother, and her own daughter affect her reading, and ultimately finds issues in much adoption literature relevant to parenting in any kind of family. Engagingly written from Novy´s dual perspectives as critic and adult adoptee, the book combines the techniques of literary and feminist scholarship with memoir, shedding new light on familiar texts.

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