A History of Feminist Literary Criticism by Professor Gill Plain, Susan Sellers

By Professor Gill Plain, Susan Sellers

Feminism has reworked the educational learn of literature, essentially changing the canon of what's taught and environment new agendas for literary research. during this authoritative background of feminist literary feedback, major students chart the advance of the perform from the center a while to the current. the 1st part of the publication explores protofeminist inspiration from the center a long time onwards, and analyses the paintings of pioneers comparable to Wollstonecraft and Woolf. the second one part examines the increase of moment wave feminism and maps its interventions around the 20th century. a last part examines the effect of postmodernism on feminist inspiration and perform. This ebook bargains a complete consultant to the background and improvement of feminist literary feedback and a full of life reassessment of the most concerns and authors within the box. it truly is crucial studying for all scholars and students of feminist writing and literary feedback.

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The speech of the Jealous Husband tends toward the violently woman-hating; the Old Woman, too, gives advice that is deeply unflattering to women; the figures of Nature and Genius (Nature’s viceroy) speak of generation and the act of procreation in baldly explicit terms; and the final sexual consummation is only thinly veiled by allegorical figuration. As John V. Fleming succinctly puts it, ‘the objections to the Roman de la Rose are two: it is anti-feminist, and it is filthy’ (Fleming, 1971: 28).

That we are more witty, which comes by nature, it cannot better be proven than that by our answers men are often driven to Nonplus. (Anger, 1589/1985: 182)3 27 28 HELEN WILCOX The terms of Anger’s argument assume religious and classical frames of reference, but use them defiantly to demonstrate female superiority and women’s capacity to reduce men to silence. In 1617, a pamphleteer who called herself ‘Esther Sowernam’ firmly reminded her female readers of their dignity: ‘You are women: in Creation, noble; in Redemption, gracious; in use, most blessed’ (Sowernam, 1617/1985: 220).

CHRISTINE DE PIZAN AND THE QUARREL OVER THE ROSE Even if the poet-narrator of the Prologue to the Legend of Good Women had convincingly defended himself against the charges – instead of sputtering ineffectively about his intentions – and even if he had made a decent start on his penance in the ensuing legends, the problems with the Rose would not go away. It was, after all, one of the most influential works of the Middle Ages: well over two hundred manuscripts circulated in and beyond France. At the turn of the fifteenth century this famous work and its famous author (Jean de Meun, who developed the poem in the late thirteenth century after its first author, Guillaume de Lorris, died) were made the objects of critique in the first literary debate in France, a debate pursued with urgency among some of the most powerful intellects in the country.

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