Representation of Women and Gender Roles in Georgian and North-American Poetry of the Late 20th Century

  • Tamar Amashukeli Ilia State University

Abstract

The role and representation of women has been one of the central issues in the societal, aesthetical, philosophical processes of the 20th and 21st centuries, so much so, that it became a turning point of sorts in the development of Western civilization and in shaping it to its current form. Even today, the topic of women remains a measure of the progress of a country, and is one of the main characteristics of social and cultural development.

The voice of women, hardly heard in literature over the centuries, was even more silenced in colonized or foreign-dominated societies. The Soviet cultural policy significantly changed the direction of development of Georgian literature, and hindered modernist-avant-garde tendencies and attempts to express women’s genuine feelings and grievances in literature. The article studies the representation of women and gender roles in Georgian poetry of the Soviet thaw and onwards, as compared to the voice of women in the poetry of a number of prominent North American and Canadian poets.

The article analyzes the works of Georgian poets who were selected mainly on the basis of the concepts of the national narrative and alternative narrative. In the late 20th century, the national narrative was the real driving force in the literature of Soviet-dominated Georgia, especially in poetry, as opposed to the official, imposed official Soviet narrative. The selected poets are studied in light of different concepts and hypotheses introduced by outstanding feminist scholars and writers. The results show that masculine discourse and double-voiced discourse can be observed in the poetry of Georgian male authors. The tendencies prevalent in the poetry of the Georgian men analyzed were influenced by the national motifs endorsed by both the Stalinist and post-Stalinist cultural policies from the Soviet center, and reinforced in Georgia after Sovietization. The patriotic and masculine tendencies of Georgian literature can be interpreted as an implicit reflection of the attempts of Georgian men to represent themselves as the owners of their land, and consequently their women, thus to oppose the reality of the Russian-Soviet colonization of Georgia.

Écriture feminine and a protest against patriarchy is seen to prevail, alongside double-voiced discourse, in the works of female poets from the late 1950s onwards. The Georgian female poets have a lot in common with their North-American counterparts, but also differ from them by expressing their protest less overtly, a fact which changes over time. Écriture feminine in the poetry of the studied female poets, as well as the double-voiced discourse observed in the poetry of the representatives of both genders in Georgia, can be considered as part of the Alternative Narrative Culture. 

The developments of the 20th century still have an impact on Georgian literature, as well as other fields, in modern Georgia. The alternative narrative which prevails in Georgian literature of the 20th century is regaining momentum in the literature of independent Georgia, making it a full-fledged member of postmodern and post-colonial culture.

Published
2020-11-30
How to Cite
Amashukeli, T. (2020). Representation of Women and Gender Roles in Georgian and North-American Poetry of the Late 20th Century. KADMOS, (12), 6-101. Retrieved from https://kadmos.iliauni.edu.ge/index.php/kadmos/article/view/338
Section
Articles