Gender and historical narratives in bildungsroman: Representations of motherhood and daughterhood in historical novels.


Rosy Angelaki




Motherhood is an intertemporal and stereotypical characteristic of the feminine identity and its ideological construction is enforced in the context of mother-daughter relationship; a relationship that psychoanalytic theories tried to approach via examining the way it is reflected in cultural expressions. Cultural studies, ethical pluralistic theories and feminist criticism influenced the way motherhood is represented in contemporary literature for children and adolescents: women talk and act without being obligated to follow rules and as mothers they are able to behave without being subjected to strict patriarchal laws. Historical novels can present and promote the understanding of the principles that formed the ruling culture regarding the feminine identity’s psychological, biological, and social aspects, as well as the concept of motherhood, through the authors’ descriptions about the societal circumstances at the time. This article examines Ninetta Voloudaki’s historical novel for adolescents and her effort to represent the multidimensional character of the mother-daughter relationship and to depict the several aspects of the feminine personality in order to deconstruct social stereotypes regarding women’s traditional roles and duties within society.


Rosy Angelaki is an historian, turkologist, holds a PhD in Children’s Literature and is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Early Childhood Education in Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, where she teaches History of Children’s Literature and Multicultural Children’s Literature as an academic scholar. She also teaches Children’s Literature at the University of Nicosia and is a co-operative member of the educational staff at the Hellenic Open University.