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

By Professor Gill Plain, Susan Sellers

Feminism has reworked the tutorial research of literature, essentially changing the canon of what's taught and environment new agendas for literary research. during this authoritative historical past 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 e-book explores protofeminist suggestion from the center a long time onwards, and analyses the paintings of pioneers reminiscent of 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 impression of postmodernism on feminist suggestion and perform. This publication bargains a entire consultant to the heritage and improvement of feminist literary feedback and a full of life reassessment of the most matters and authors within the box. it truly is crucial examining for all scholars and students of feminist writing and literary feedback.

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Ironically for such a prolific writer, Cavendish pointed out that the works which ‘our Sex do Write . . seems rather as Briefs than Volumes’, whereby women express their ‘Brief Wit’ in ‘Short Works’ (Cavendish, 1664/1997: 120–1). The very idea of wit was itself gendered: Lanyer was not alone in the period in defiantly referring to her poetry as the fruit or offspring of her ‘womans wit’ (Lanyer, 1611/1993: 11), and Cavendish used revealingly gendered – largely feminine – metaphors in a survey of varieties of wit, which included ‘Gossiping Wit, as Midwife and Nurse Wit, also Wafer and Hippocras Wit, Ale and Cake Wit, as in Christning, Churching, Lying in .

The ‘marryd state’ afforded ‘but little Ease’, according to the poet Katherine Philips in the 1640s; she suggested that the Feminism in the Renaissance and seventeenth century 29 distresses of marriage could be discerned in the care-worn faces of wives, even though they had learned to ‘desemble their misfortunes well’ (Philips, 1988: 188–9). If women were the daughters of Eve, they were certainly bearing her punishment in the early modern period: ‘Unto the woman [God] said . . in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee’ (Genesis 3:16).

There is a sense among the poem’s detractors that hateful speech simply cannot be uttered without harm, no matter what the context. Third, the effects of other poetic devices are discussed. The final allegorical representation of the sex act, maintains Christine, is ‘explicit’ despite the elaborate figure (124), and more seductive than a literal representation would be. Christine declares to Pierre Col flatly that satirical methods are not effective: praising evil in order to teach that it should be avoided is counterproductive.

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