Pronoun Envy Literary Uses of Linguistic Gender

  • ISBN13:


  • ISBN10:


  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2000-11-30
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

Note: Supplemental materials are not guaranteed with Rental or Used book purchases.

Purchase Benefits

  • Free Shipping On Orders Over $35!
    Your order must be $35 or more to qualify for free economy shipping. Bulk sales, PO's, Marketplace items, eBooks and apparel do not qualify for this offer.
  • Get Rewarded for Ordering Your Textbooks! Enroll Now
List Price: $93.86 Save up to $14.08
  • Rent Book $79.78
    Add to Cart Free Shipping


Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

  • The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.
  • The Rental copy of this book is not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.


Controversy over gendered pronouns, for example using the generic "he," has been a staple of feminist arguments about patriarchal language over the last 30 years, and is certainly the most contested political issue in Western feminist linguistics. Most accounts do not extend beyond policy issues like the official institution of non-sexist language. In this volume, Anna Livia reveals continuities both before and after the sexist language refore movement and shows how the creative practices of pronoun use on the part of feminist writers had both aesthetic and political ends. Livia uses the term "pronoun envy" ironically to show that rather being a case of misguided envy, battles over gendered language are central to feminist concerns. Livia examines a broad corpus of written texts in English and French, concentrating on those texts which problematize the traditional functioning of the linguistic gender system. They range from novels and prose poems to film scripts and personal testimonies, and in time from the 19th century to the present. Some withhold any indication of gender; others have non-gendered characters. Livia's goal is two-fold; to help bridge the divide between linguistic and literary analysis, and to show how careful study of the manipulation of linguistic gender in these texts informs larger concerns. This fresh and highly interdisciplinary work lies at the intersection of several vital areas, including language and gender, sociolinguistics, and feminist literary analysis.

Author Biography

Anna Livia is Visiting Assistant Professor of French at the University of California at Berkeley. She co-edited Queerly Phrased: Language, Gender, and Sexuality (OUP, 1995).

Table of Contents

``Un homme sur deux est une femme''
Introduction---Pronoun Envy and Phallogocentrism
``Sexes meles je ne sus plus rien distinguer''
Nongendered Characters in French
``Was I, perhaps, castrato/a?''
Nongendered Characters in English
``La sphyngesse, la taure, et les agnelles nouvelles-nees''
Experiments with Lexical Gender in French
``On est quatre dans le meme tas''
French Epicene on
``Na sat astride Three, na hands on nan throat''
Epicene Neologisms in English
``Avant j'etais un transsexuel, maintenant j'etais une femme''
Linguistic Gender and Liminal Identity
``Pendue pour des inventions illicites''
Notes 203(14)
Bibliography 217(14)
Index 231

Rewards Program

Write a Review