Old Wives' Tales and Other Women's Stories

264 pages

34 illustrations

November, 1998

ISBN: 9780814755945



Also available in


Cultural Studies


Tania Modleski is Florence R. Scott Professor of English at the University of Southern California. She is the author of Loving with a Vengeance, The Women Who Knew Too Much, and Feminism Without Women.

All books by Tania Modleski

Alerting readers to a body of recent work that has gone under-examined, Tania Modleski redraws in Old Wives' Tales the perimeter of popular culture. A critical analysis of films such as The Ballad of Little Jo, The Piano and Dogfight, Old Wives' Tales also takes up performance, autobiographical experience, and contemporary social issues to illustrate how women's genres mediate between us and reality. Modelski examines the changes occurring in traditional women's genres, such as romances and melodrama, and explores the phenomenon of female authors and performers who "cross-dress"--women, that is, who are moving into male genres and staking out territory declared off-limits by men and by many feminists.


  • "These ten essays oscillate between two poles of Modleski's previous work: the attention to stories for women that are deemed trivial by dominant culture and the regard for forms of male fantasies transformed by women artists and women critics into women's stories for feminism. . . . It is in the magisterial treatment of the transformations of ostensibly male fantasies (including her own) that Modleski makes the most stunning of this volume's new contributions."

    Women's Review of Books