By Professor Gill Plain, Susan Sellers
Feminism has reworked the tutorial learn of literature, essentially changing the canon of what's taught and atmosphere new agendas for literary research. during this authoritative background of feminist literary feedback, best students chart the improvement of the perform from the center a long time to the current. the 1st component of the ebook explores protofeminist notion from the center a while onwards, and analyses the paintings of pioneers akin 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 impression of postmodernism on feminist concept and perform. This publication bargains a complete advisor to the historical past and improvement of feminist literary feedback and a full of life reassessment of the most matters and authors within the box. it's crucial interpreting for all scholars and students of feminist writing and literary feedback.
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Extra info for A History of Feminist Literary Criticism
The feminist pamphlet focuses its attack on the inaccurate and damaging fictions of the sort of love poet who does ‘nothing but rail at us, thinking he hath done his Mistress praise, when it may be he hath no Mistress at all but only feigns to himself some counterfeit Phyllis or Amaryllis, such as had never any person but a mere airy name’ (Tattlewell, 1640/1985: 313). The evident frustration in this passage is directed towards the dangerous falsification of women in male-authored works, and the references to ‘Phyllis or Amaryllis’, generic shepherdesses of Renaissance pastoral love poetry, make this attack specifically literary as well as social and educational.
CONCLUSION What does all this mean for a history of feminist literary criticism? It is crucial not to regard these medieval critical gestures as ‘protofeminism’, because such a view narrows the medieval instances to mere prefigurations of what we now appreciate as the robust feminism of modernity. In the late medieval period there was keen awareness of the masculine domination of textual tradition and, concomitantly, a vibrant concern about the effects of the antifeminist literary tradition, though there was no consensus on how to correct that tradition: what worked for Christine de Pizan in her Book of the City of Ladies (unvarying portraits of good women) was seen as a punishment that ironically backfires in the Legend of Good Women (cf.
Male writers at the time predicated their hopes of success on the responsiveness of the woman reader. As Philip Sidney wittily demonstrated in sonnet 45 of Astrophil and Stella (c. 1582), the emotional reaction of Stella to a ‘fable’ or ‘some thrice-sad tragedy’ gave Astrophil some hope that she might, in turn, have pity on ‘the tale’ of his devotion to her (Sidney, 1973: 139). However, the scenario did not always work in the way the men intended, as Tattlewell and Hit-him-home humorously indicate in The Women’s Sharp Revenge: Captain Compliment .