Women Writers and the Occult in Literature and Culture: Female Lucifers, Priestesses, and Witches. New York: Routledge, 2015. Now also available as paperback: ISBN 9780367871383 (Routledge 2019).
Examining the intersection of occult spirituality, text, and gender, this book provides a compelling analysis of the occult revival in literature from the 1880s through the course of the twentieth century. Bestselling novels such as The Da Vinci Code play with magic and the fascination of hidden knowledge, while occult and esoteric subjects have become very visible in literature during the twentieth century. This study analyses literature by women occultists such as Alice Bailey, Dion Fortune, and Starhawk, and revisits texts with occult motifs by canonical authors such as Sylvia Townsend Warner, Leonora Carrington, and Angela Carter. This material, which has never been analysed in a literary context, covers influential movements such as Theosophy, Spiritualism, Golden Dawn, Wicca, and Goddess spirituality. Wallraven engages with the question of how literature functions as the medium for creating occult worlds and powerful identities, particularly the female Lucifer, witch, priestess, and Goddess. Based on the concept of ancient wisdom, the occult in literature also incorporates topical discourses of the twentieth century, including psychoanalysis, feminism, pacifism, and ecology. Hence, as an ever-evolving discursive universe, it presents alternatives to religious truth claims that often lead to various forms of fundamentalism that we encounter today. This book offers a ground-breaking approach to interpreting the forms and functions of occult texts for scholars and students of literary and cultural studies, religious studies, sociology, and gender studies.
A Writing Halfway between Theory and Fiction: Mediating Feminism from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2007.
This book is focused on the surprisingly large number of feminist women writers in literary history who use different genres for their feminist ideas while subverting or transgressing established boundaries between fictional and theoretical writing. In particular, texts by such diverse authors as Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Hays, Mary Robinson, Harriet Martineau, Olive Schreiner, Virginia Woolf, the French Feminists Hélène Cixous and Monique Wittig, Margaret Cavendish, and Michèle Roberts are analysed. This chronological indepth reading of feminist texts is based on the interrelation of content, genre and discourse. The study provides the first analysis of the phenomenon of the gendering of genre and feminists’ troubled involvement in ‘theory’ as well as ‘literature’. In this way, key questions concerning the emergence of feminism during the last four hundred years are presented in a new and revealing light; e.g., for what reason did Mary Wollstonecraft not only write her famous feminist treatise A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, but also a novel in which she tests the arguments of her theoretical treatise by means of fiction? What is the significance of Virginia Woolf’s “Novel-Essay” The Pargiters, which seeks to connect theoretical and fictional parts by juxtaposing them? How can the mixture of genres be interpreted which Catherine Clément attributes to the texts of Hélène Cixous as a “writing halfway between theory and fiction”?
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"'A mere instrument' or 'proud as Lucifer'? Self-presentations in the Occult Autobiographies by Emma Hardinge Britten (1900) and Annie Besant (1893)." Women's Writing 15/3 (2008): 390-411.
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"'A failure'? Feminist theory in Mary Wollstonecraft's fictional The Wrongs of Woman: or, Maria." Post-Scriptum 5 (2005): www.post-scriptum.org.
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"'Authoress of a whole world': The empowerment and narrative authority of 17th- and 18th-century English women writers in real and fictional travelogues." In-Between: Essays & Studies in Literary Criticism 13:2 (2004): 135-149.
"Gedichte über Dichter: Die Etablierung einer literarischen Tradition der Selbstreferentialität in England zwischen Intertextualität und Interpersonalität." Formen der Selbstthematisierung in der vormodernen Lyrik. Ed. Dorothea Klein. Hildesheim: Weidmann, 2019. 287-302.
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"'Hexe-Werden: Identitätskonstruktionen der Hexe und Prozesse der Umwertung im 20. Jahrhundert." Identität in den Kulturwissenschaften: Perspektiven und Fallstudien zu Identitäts- und Alteritätsdiskursen. Eds. Sonja Altnöder, Martin Lüthe, Marcel Vejmelka. Trier: WVT, 2011. 209-22.
"Who's afraid of Witches, Goddesses, and Women Occultists? The Importance of a 'Spiritual and Occult Turn' in Connection with Gender for Literary and Cultural Studies." Proceedings Anglistentag 2008 Tübingen. Trier: WVT, 2009. 35-44.
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"Susan Griffin." Encyclopedia of Contemporary LGBTQ Literature of the United States. Vol. 1. Ed. Emmanuel S. Nelson. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2009. 274-5.
"Zami: A New Spelling of My Name." Encyclopedia of Contemporary LGBTQ Literature of the United States. Vol. 2. Ed. Emmanuel S. Nelson. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2009. 679-81.
"Anna Barbauld." Great Lives from History: The Eighteenth Century, 1701-1800. Pasadena: Salem Press, 2006. 87-89.
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"Helene Lange." Great Lives from History: The Nineteenth Century, 1801-1900. Pasadena: Salem Press, 2006. 1307-1309.
"Harriet Martineau's Autobiography." Encyclopedia Of Women's Autobiography. Vol 1. Eds. Jo Malin and Victoria Boynton. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2005. 256-260.
"Anne Conway." Great Lives from History: The Seventeenth Century, 1601-1700. Vol 1. Ed. Larissa Juliet Taylor. Pasadena: Salem Press, 2005. 187-189.
"Anja Müller. Framing Childhood in Eighteenth-Century English Periodicals and Prints, 1689-1789." Anglia, 128/1 (2010): 152-155.
"Ingo Berensmeyer. Angles of Contingency. Literarische Kultur im England des siebzehnten Jahrhunderts." Anglia, 127/3 (2009): 540-543.
"Nancy Copeland. Staging Gender in Behn and Centlivre: Women's Comedy and the Theatre." Gender Forum: Gender Roomours II' 16 (2006).
"Erica Longfellow: Women and Religious Writing in Early Modern England." Anglia 124/2 (2006): 373-376.
"'Famous, infamous, or anonymous?' Alexis Easley: First-Person Anonymous. Women Writers and Victorian Print Media." IASL 2006.
"Felicitas A. Nussbaum. The Limits of the Human: Fictions of Anomaly, Race, and Gender in the Long Eighteenth Century." Gender Forum: Imagendering 11 (2005).
"Als Ermutigung für unser Geschlecht: Berühmte Englische Frauen der Frühen Neuzeit." literaturkritik.de 3 (March 2004): http://www.literaturkritik.de/public/rezension.php?rez_id=6843&ausgabe=200403
"Geoffrey Sill: The Cure of the Passions and the Origins of the English Novel." ZAA 1.2 (2003): 211-212.
"Christina Hughes. Key Concepts in Feminist Theory and Research." Gender Forum: AnyBody's Concerns 6 (2003).
"Penelope Deutscher. A Politics of Impossible Difference: The Later Work of Luce Irigaray." Gender Forum: Gender Debat(tl)ed 5 (2003).