“Leaning on the Limits of Myself”: Jeanette Winterson’s Weight as an Existentialist Text Cover Image
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“Leaning on the Limits of Myself”: Jeanette Winterson’s Weight as an Existentialist Text
“Leaning on the Limits of Myself”: Jeanette Winterson’s Weight as an Existentialist Text

Author(s): Funda Basak Baskan
Subject(s): Cultural Essay, Political Essay, Societal Essay
Published by: Editura Universitatii LUCIAN BLAGA din Sibiu
Keywords: Existentialism; retelling; classical myths; Atlas; choice; responsibility; freedom; fate

Summary/Abstract: In the critical reception of Jeanette Winterson’s oeuvre, scholars have paid particular attention to the postmodern features of Winterson’s work and the representation of lesbian love and desire that unsettle heterosexual hegemony. It can be argued that Winterson’s work has been mostly read with the lens of postmodern, poststructuralist feminism and queer critical theory. This paper aims to offer a reading of Winterson’s retelling of Atlas myth from an existentialist point of view. Weight is published in “The Myths” series launched in 2005 by Canongate Books, along with other modern retellings of classical myths by renowned authors such as Margaret Atwood, Ali Smith, and Alexander McCall Smith. Winterson’s work, in her own words is the “cover story” of the myth of Atlas. In Greek mythology, condemned to eternal punishment for rebelling against the Olympian gods, Atlas, the Titan son of earth and sky, carries the world on his shoulders. After giving a brief overview of existentialism as a philosophical movement, this paper explores Winterson’s modern retelling of the myth with regard to existentialist concepts of freedom, burden, fate, alienation and anxiety.

  • Issue Year: 2010
  • Issue No: 15
  • Page Range: 104-118
  • Page Count: 15
  • Language: English