Najoua Stambouli


Najoua Stambouli is a doctoral student of English language and literature at the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences of Sousse, Tunisia, and a teaching assistant of English at the Higher Institute of Applied Studies in Humanities of Mahdia, Tunisia. She is specialised in American literature and particularly concerned with modern American poetry. Her major areas of interest are feminism, psychoanalysis, maternal studies, and gender studies. Her Ph.D research is about Motherhood in the Works of Contemporary American Women Poets: Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Adrienne Rich, and Sharon Olds. The previous publications she made in other academic journals are “Representations of Psychological Trauma in Anne Sexton’s Confessional Poetry” in TAYR Quarterly Journal and “Mothers in Masquerade: Objectification and Theatricality in the Poetry of Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath” in The International Journal of Humanities and Cultural Studies.


In her landmark essay “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence” (1980), the American lesbian feminist activist Adrienne Rich introduced new politics of de-minoritisation and acknowledgment of the lesbian community through the two concepts of “Lesbian Existence” and “Lesbian Continuum”. My research paper draws on these two concepts to explore how Adrienne Rich and Anne Sexton use their poems to call for new clarity in female-female relationships and necessary visibility for lesbian mothers. My article studies Rich’s “Mother-in-Law” (1981), “Sibling Mysteries” (1976), and Sexton’s “Rapunzel” (1971) to value non- normative forms of kinship and family structure, and to represent mother- child’s lesbian bonds as sites of maternal agency and potential.

From Marginalized to Powerful Mothers: Politics of Acknowledgment of Lesbian Identity

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