ABSTRACT. Female identity exists in the narrow space between oppositions and dualities, the space that must be constantly negotiated. Starting with Ancient Greek mythology, continuing with the Bible, Literature and the Arts, the female body has been represented as an empty vessel to be filled with meaning. The symbolic meaning assigned to female bodies is either that of monstrosity or goodness, never in-between, which means that female identity is constructed within the frames of oppositions while being denied its duality. By looking at these constructions of meaning and identity through the lenses of feminist theory and literature, it becomes possible to deconstruct and rewrite them. An analysis of the monstrous femininity written by a male author (Joseph Sheridan le Fanu) and the one written by a feminist author (Angela Carter) offers an understanding of the way in which Western Culture, especially art (mis)represents women.

Keywords: Angel woman; monster woman; female body; opposition; duality; feminist theory

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Ovidius University,
Constanța, Romania

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