In this original and highly accomplished study, Marie Maclean studies the writings of social rebels and explores the relationship between their personal narratives and illegitimacy.
The case studies which Maclean examines fall into four different groups which:
* stress alternative family structures and `female genealogies'
* pair female illegitimacy and revolution
* question the deliberate refusal of the name of the father by the legitimate
* study the revenge of genius on the society which excludes it.
Skilfully interweaving feminist theory, French literary criticism, social and cultural history, deconstruction and psychoanalytic theory, Maclean traces the place of these personal narratives of illegitimacy in history and theory, from Elizabeth I to Freud, Sartre and Derrida.