An american feminist literary canon a guest post by anna. While in practice feminist critics continue to use a variety of methodological approaches to literature, there are common assumptions that underlie a feminist approach to anything. There are many different kinds of feminist literary theory. Rarely did feminists venture on the other side of a great. Mar 31, 2016 the age of criticism, martin amis once wrote, started in 1948 and ended with opec that is, it started with the publication of f. One major approach to feminist literary criticism revolves around the desire to challenge or redefine the literary canon that has been dominated by men. Feminist criticism s roots are in womens social, political, economic and psychological oppression. It uses the principles and ideology of feminism to critique the language of literature.
Feminist criticism in our times has come to occupy a highly significant place in the field of theories concerned with interpretation and analysis of texts and hence it becomes a concern of. Unlike some other kinds of literary criticism cough psychoanalysis cough, feminism doesnt just want to talk about new ways of reading secret phallus symbols into old classics. More influential as founding documents are the essays of v. A readers guide to contemporary literary theory 5th edition. This lecture introduces feminist literary criticism by giving a history of feminism and introducing the. There, at ur, we learn the name of the first author in history. Therefore, feminist literary theory is the extension of feminism into theoretical or philosophical frame work to analyse causes behind. According to feminist scholars, the canonical texts of western literature represent the voices of those who have been given the power to speak in western culture. Elaine showalter argues that the task of feminist critics is to find a new intelligence and our experience, our reason and our suffering, our skepticism and our vision. Shes mainly interested in thinking about how certain kinds of reading get taught. Feminist literary criticism is literary criticism informed by feminist theory, or more broadly, by the politics of feminism. What are some main concerns of feminist literary theory and.
No criticism of raman, of course indeed, that he could say this is to make. Since the 1970s, feminist scholars have reshaped the literary canon in a big way, digging up tons of work by women writers throughout the ages, and giving that. Meese, in contrast, argues that feminist literary criticism should. Additionally, feminist criticism has been closely associated with the birth and growth of queer studies. Two suggested approaches for feminist criticism are 1 emphasizing alternative.
The beginnings of this movement are to be found in the journalism of r. What is the feminist approach to literary criticism. An introduction provides an accessible overview of major figures and movements in literary theory and criticism from antiquity to the twentyfirst century. Jan 01, 2007 yet the understanding of feminist approaches and their hermeneutical complexity is somewhat onedimensional. The literary canon has largely been a product of, bdf dhf hlfby, and for men, and therefore the roles for women as either authors or characters are limited everything is political. Therefore, i have made this canon of american feminist writing, which i have taken from my larger feminist literary canon series. Feminist critics in particular have rethought the process of canon formation and questions of literary value. Expansion of the literary canon in the 20th century. Second wave feminism is concerned with women writings include ellen mores literary women 1976, elaine showalters a literature of their own 1970, nina bayms womens fiction 1978, sandra gilbert and susan gubars the mad woman in the attic 1979, and margaret homans women writers and poetic identity 1980. In the introduction, the complex literary history of feminist criticism is reduced to two rather uninteresting strands the representations of women strand and the uncovering misogyny of major male writers strand. In particular, feminist literary critics tend to reject the patriarchal norms of literature that privileges masculine ways of thinkingpoints of view and marginalizes women politically, economically and psychologically, according to paul ady, associate professor of english at. The age of criticism, martin amis once wrote, started in 1948 and ended with opec that is, it started with the publication of f.
American literary critic elaine showalter coined the term gynocritics in her 1979 essay towards a feminist poetics. In particular, as scherman again notes, feminist criticism makes space for and listens to womens voices previously muted or drowned out by dominant patriarchal literary critical practices. Launching a major new area for literary investigation, and reshaping the canon of english literature,a literature of their own helped to create an explosion of intellectual ferment throughout the humanities that sought to establish genderas a category of analysis. Some theorists examine the language and symbols that are used and how that language and use of. The present essay is an attempt to explore showalters feminist critical philosophy and the corresponding. Some feminist critics seek to interpret the works of male authors, with particular attention to women characters, in order to explore the moral, political and social restrictions.
Feminists have been much concerned to pose certain probing questions related to the concept and practice of the literary canon. The more feminist criticism i read, the more it seemed clear that, as a practice, feminist literary crit icism had been created from a canon of works by women written during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in england and america. Feminist criticism is also concerned with less obvious forms of marginalization such as the exclusion of women writers from the traditional literary canon. In addition, feminist literary criticism is concerned with the exclusion of women from the literary canon, with theorists such as lois tyson suggesting that this is because the views of women authors are often not considered to be universal. Pdf feminist criticism and analysis of nina bayms the. English range from the heritagedriven literary canon of the national.
A modern tradition of literary commentary and polemic devoted to the defence of womens writing or of fictional female characters against the condescensions of a predominantly male literary establishment. Unlike feminist literary criticism, which might analyze works by male authors from a feminist perspective, gynocriticism wanted to establish a literary tradition of women without incorporating male authors. Revising the literary canon the literary canon of a country or a group of people is comprised of a body of works that are highly valued by scholars and others because of their aesthetic value and. Feminism and the canadian literary canon canlit guides. Feminist criticism, gynocriticism, malecentred, femininity. The authors of the western canon are predominately white men, which means that their perspective is given the most representation, and many critics consider their voices to be domineering, exclusionary.
Feminist literary criticism helps us look at literature in a different light. Feminist criticism comes in many forms, and feminist critics have a variety of. Nonetheless, it is an undeniable fact that most feminist criticism focuses on women writers, so that the feminist efforts to humanize the canon have usually meant bringing a womans point of view to bear by incorporating works by women into the established canon. Of course, minefiele more women authors have found their ways into the literary canon, and much more feminist literary criticism written by women scholars is being published, much is yet to be settled.
Elaine showaiter, editor the new feminist criticism. Mar 04, 2018 here is the lecture on unit 2 of english 110. The more feminist criticism i read, the more it seemed clear that, as a practice, feminist literary crit icism had been created from a. A s feminist ideology would have it, the world presents a harsh and alien landscape to woman. In her first book, the lay of the landkolodny explores the colonization of america, both in reality and in the realm of metaphor. Traditional womens writing anddih b ltdditid reading have been neglected and it is worthwhile to restore them to parity. In her recent book on feminist criticism,crossing the doublecross1986, elizabeth a. Pdf the purpose of feminist criticism is to object patriarchal assumptions about. Essay from the year 2010 in the subject women studies gender studies, grade. We must turn back not a few quaint centuries, but millennia, to sumer in the 23rd century, b.
What unites the spokespersons of either effort, however, is the centrality of the canon discussion for the general agenda of literary criticism. Opening up the canon, selected papers from the english institute, 1979, eds. Essays on women, literature, and theory article pdf available in ilha do desterro april 2008 with 5,839 reads how we measure reads. As attempts to address the problem of the canon, at least four different approaches alternative readings, adding to the canon, developing a countercanon, and critiquing the notion of the canon have been suggested and enacted by feminists. An interest in discovering or recovering the works of women. Some observations on the theory, practice, and politics of a feminist literary criticism in dancing through the minefield, annette kolodny questions how social norms have shaped the english literary canon. Feminism has transformed the academic study of literature, fundamentally altering the canon of what is taught and setting new agendas for literary analysis. Judith sargent murray 17511820 was an early american advocate for womens rights, an essayist, playwright, poet, and letter writer. An idea presented before its time, prescriptive criticism was effectively silenced by a feminist community bent on coexistence. As attempts to address the problem of the canon, at least four different approaches alternative readings, adding to the canon, developing a counter canon, and critiquing the notion of the canon have been. It also may trace the history of relatively unknown or undervalued women writers, potentially earning them their rightful place within the literary canon, and helps create a climate in which womens creativity may be fully realized and appreciated.
In the twentieth century there was a general reassessment of the literary canon, including womens writing, postcolonial literatures, gay and lesbian literature, writing by people of colour, working peoples writing, and the cultural productions of historically marginalized groups. Feminist literary criticism is the critical analysis of literary works based on the feminist perspective. Briefly, feminist criticism aims to reinterpret literature from a female point of view. Introduction a history of feminist literary criticism.
Shaped against her grain by a tradition that has left her true identity out of account, she must articulate her very grievances in a language created by. Literary history, criticism and canon springerlink. This lecture introduces feminist literary criticism by giving a history of feminism and introducing the foundational concepts of feminist theory. Bringing together original entries written by such celebrated theorists as. Meese remarks that the prescriptive feminist criticism identified by cheri register in this book represented the first assertion of feminist critical authority. A case study from the twenties paul lauter 39 womens oppression today. The book assails political and sociological methods of contemporary literary criticism as well as new historicism, especially when interpreted from a marxist or radically feminist perspective. In this authoritative history of feminist literary criticism, leading scholars chart the development of the practice from the middle ages to the present. Moderate revision add women and stir include women in the canon more conservative search for the lost or forgotten great women in a field.
What are some main concerns of feminist literary theory. Feminist literary criticism the new york public library. Feminist criticism is concerned with the ways in which literature and other. Feminist literary theory and criticism have been characterized by a number of concerns and emphases, including the following. Nonetheless, it is an undeniable fact that most feminist criticism focuses on women writers, so that the feminist efforts to humanize the canon have usually meant bringing a womans point of view to bear by incorporating works by women into. Feminist literary criticism is a literary criticism knowledgeable by feminist theory, or, more broadly, by the politics of feminism. It is upon this commonality that i wish to dwell, so as to place feminist literary criticism within the context of a more general critical theory. The main concern of feminist literary criticism is the feminist language. The routledge dictionary of literary terms the routledge dictionary of literary termsis a twentyfirst century update of roger fowlers seminal dictionary of modern critical terms. Designed to make readers more aware of the systematic neglect of womens experience in the traditional literary canon, the paper presents feminist alternatives to the maledominated canon, an assessment of their impact on the standard canon, and a proposal for new directions for further work. Essay about the introduction of feminist criticism bartleby. It is designed for students at the undergraduate level or for others needing a broad synthesis of the long history of literary theory.
Broadly, its understood to be concerned with the politics of feminism, and it uses feminist principles to critique the maledominated literature. Feminism, aesthetics and the french and german literary canon 17701936. Revising the literary canon the literary canon of a country or a group of people is comprised of a body of works that are highly valued by scholars and. This research guide will assist you in finding sources for feminist literary criticism.
English literaturehistory and criticismtheory, etc. At what fixed point then, do we begin to compile an authentic feminist literary canon. Short notes on feminism in english literature english summary. Two suggested approaches for feminist criticism are 1 emphasizing alternative readings that reinterpret womens character, motivations, and actions and that identify and challenge sexist ideology. Oct 23, 2019 according to feminist scholars, the canonical texts of western literature represent the voices of those who have been given the power to speak in western culture. It is a certain western intellectual tradition that goes from, say, socrates to wittgenstein in. A classic of feminist criticism, the book remains in.
The authors of the western canon are predominately white men, which means that their perspective is given the most representation, and many critics consider their voices to be domineering, exclusionary, and biased in favor of a male. It applies the philosophies and perspectives of feminism to the literature we read. The impact of feminism on literary criticism over the past thirtyfive years has been profound and wideranging. Feminist criticism therefore gains much of its validity from a variety of other critical approaches.
Feminist criticism concern itself with stereotypical representations of genders. English literaturestudy and teaching highergreat britain. Radical revision down with the patriarchy reexamination of standards and values of the canon. It will first explain the feminist literary theory as a term as well as a practice and its function in literary criticism, followed by an explanation of the angloamerican approach and some of its prominent writers. Nov 11, 2012 therefore, i have made this canon of american feminist writing, which i have taken from my larger feminist literary canon series.
Leaviss the great tradition the book that, more than any. Problems in marxist feminist analysis michele barrett 45 writing race and the difference it makes henry louis gates, jr 46 parables and politics. Philosophy, feminist literary criticism and the difference 25 based upon these findings, millett tackles in the third part of her book sexual politics. From another there seems to be a growing inclusiveness of titles, even to the point where there is no longer any sense in applying any notion of literary canon whatsoever. Millett directs her criticism to some of the most revered writers in the literary canon. However, not all these works originate in the western world, and such works are also valued throughout the world. One of the ways in which it tried to achieve this was by demanding a close.
Meanwhile another group of critics including sandra gilbert, susan gubar, patricia meyer spacks, and showalter herself created a somewhat different model. A history of feminist literary criticism edited by gill plain. In fact, however, the current wave of feminist theory began as criticism of certain key texts. Pdf feminist literary criticism is a literary criticism knowledgeable by. In the process, feminist criticism has led to the recovery of writing by and about womena recovery that would not have happened if feminists did not draw attention to the role that gender played in the formation of the canadian.1104 1313 941 1598 1638 580 1497 1189 213 1299 81 437 497 937 1149 277 1568 129 150 38 126 1017 1432 709 751 953 245 948 452 29 391 291 1400 619 163 325 672 1403 773 1251 1285 1307 154 484 1245 686 1440