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Reading Is My WindowBooks and the Art of Reading in Women's Prisons$
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Megan Sweeney

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780807833520

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807898352_sweeney

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Between a Politics of Pain and a Politics of Pain's Disavowal

Between a Politics of Pain and a Politics of Pain's Disavowal

(p.83) Chapter Three Between a Politics of Pain and a Politics of Pain's Disavowal
Reading Is My Window

Megan Sweeney

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on the term “mis lit”—short for “misery literature”— recently adopted by Bookseller Magazine to describe the growing number of memoirs that recount their authors' experiences of abuse and trauma. The popularity of so-called mis lit has sparked considerable cultural debate in both popular and academic contexts. Fears that readers are indulging in “voyeurism, even salaciousness” in “snapping up” such memoirs dovetail with broader cultural concerns that Americans' preoccupation with victimization has created a culture of dependency and attachment to suffering. Some feminist theorists have also expressed concern that the “cult of victimization” reifies women as victims and has led to a “mass infantilization of women.”

Keywords:   mis lit, misery literature, cultural debate, voyeurism, victimization, dependency, feminist theorists

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