A dark night of the soul: sexuality, subjectivity and autobiographical modes in Marian Engel's "The glassy sea"
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Author/sCarmona Rodríguez, Pedro
Marian Engel ’s novel The Glassy Sea (1978) features a woman in search of a creative and experiential voice through a complex process of individuation. This coming to terms with her self is doubly complicated, since the protagonist, the Protestant nun Marguerite Hebert, is confronted with secular and religious patriarchal hierarchies that displace the key to her individuation, the mastery of her body and sexuality. This paper explores the triangulation set up by an autobiographical mode, the confessional letter, the mastery of female sexuality and its role in the coming to terms with Hebert ’s gendered self. The former acts as the vehicle to tackle the many contradictions inherent in the protagonist life, while it also screens a retrospective autobiography that deploys a controversial approach to Hebert ’s sexual drives. This challenges the ahistorical existence of the typical nun consecrated to its present, reconstructs the nun ’s past and envisions her future. Marguerite ’s writing s...