Writing the modern family : contemporary literature, motherhood and neoliberal culture


    • Garrett, Roberta


Writing the modern family : contemporary literature, motherhood and neoliberal culture

Roberta Garrett

(Radical cultural studies)

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2020

  • pbk.

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Although a large body of work has emerged which addresses neoliberal representations of the family in other cultural forms (such as parenting advice programmes) little has been written specifically on the family and contemporary literature. This book examines the growing body of autobiographical and fictional writing on family and parenting issues in Anglo-American culture from the late 1990s to the present day. The book looks closely at six distinct genres which have arisen during this time frame: the misery memoir, the mum's lit popular novel, the maternal confessional, 'dads' lit, the dysfunctional domestic novel and the family noir. Writing the Modern Family will examine the way these burgeoning areas of British and American writing respond to a neoliberal public discourse in which a 'parenting deficit' rather than economic and structural disadvantage, is responsible for increasing inequality in child welfare and achievement. In evaluating these forms and their relationship to neoliberal culture, the book will also consider the complex interrelationship between these genres.


Introduction: Literature and the Politicisation of Parenting / 1. Abuse and Enchantment: Misery lit and return of the evil (step)mother / 2. Novels and Children: 'Mum's lit' and the Public Mother as Author / 3. 'I was only being honest': Truth, Myth and Resistance in Contemporary Maternal Memoirs / 4. Fathers Know Best: 'Dads' lit' and the Childcare Wars of the mid 2000s / 5. Angels and Demons: Attachment Parenting and the Dysfunctional Domestic novel / 6. The Neoliberal Fallen Woman

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