Friday, 12 April 2013

Wicked Women

 
Revisiting this short story collection by Fay Weldon has been very enjoyable. This will be the text for Friday's class at the Fremantle Arts Centre. I'm remembering stories like the Pardoner, Love Amongst the Artists and how Weldon pays tribute, especially to her own ilk. Leda and the Swan is a satirical take on the story of Leda & the Swan, also a poem by William Butler Yeats. (origin Da Vinci's painting). Of course, Weldon's story is not about humans & swans, but more like creatures with the same names who swim, dive, compete & more!

Fay Weldon was born (1931 -) in Worcester, England, where her father was a physician and her mother a writer. She was educated at the University of St. Andrews, from which she received her M.A. in 1954. Six years later, she married Ronald Weldon. Weldon worked as a propaganda writer for the British Foreign Office and then as an advertising copywriter for various firms in London before making writing a full-time career. Since the mid-1960's she has written novels, short stories, and radio and television plays. The central subject of all Weldon's writing is the experience of women, especially their relationships with men. According to Weldon, "Women must ask themselves: What is it that will give me fulfillment? That's the serious question I'm attempting to answer." Despite her concern with women, Weldon has been criticized by some feminist groups for apparently presenting fictional women with very limited options. Weldon's style is marked by a careful attention to detail, vivid images, a sharp wit, and a wry sense of humour. Although most of her male characters are disagreeable, they are not the true villains of her novels. Her villains are, in fact, the traditional roles that men and women play. Weldon looks at women in many different circumstances - at work, at home, at play, in politics, and especially in love - and shows not only how they are manipulated by men, but also how they allow themselves to be manipulated. Weldon's novel The Life and Loves of a She-Devil (1983) has been made into a popular movie. It was formerly a successful television miniseries. Her latest novel (2012) is Habits of the House - a lightweight novel of Edwardian life above and below stairs.

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