Angelica De Vido

I am a scholar of twentieth and twenty-first century American literature, who specialises in women’s writing and the history of feminist activism in the United States.

My first monograph, ‘Girlhood in the Contemporary American Novel,’ is under contract with Edinburgh University Press. This monograph argues that a radical new version of the coming-of-age narrative has emerged in American novels post-1990, in response to the girl-centric agendas of contemporary feminism. Girls’ coming-of-age narratives have chiefly depicted their ‘growing down’ into future womanhood via the formal conventions of the marriage plot in the bildungsroman, where the maturation from girl to woman charts a protagonist’s capitulation to diminutive heteropatriarchal dictates. However, my research invites readers to view girlhood anew, by illuminating how contemporary novels dramatise the ideologies of girl-centric third-wave feminism to present innovative visions of girls who ‘grow up’ and ‘grow sideways’ within genres from which they have historically been marginalised in the novel tradition, to explore girls’ quests for self-realisation through literary forms that offer expansive new formal, stylistic, and thematic possibilities. Articles informed by this research are also forthcoming in the journals Contemporary Literature and Contemporary Women’s Writing.

At the RAI, I am beginning work on a second monograph, which examines how realist novels have been a critical tool in the post-war feminist project of promoting women’s access to the spaces, institutions, and social networks of American cities.