Making a Difference: Feminist Literary Criticism

Making a Difference: Feminist Literary Criticism

Making a Difference: Feminist Literary Criticism

Making a Difference: Feminist Literary Criticism


Feminist scholarship employs gender as a fundamental organizing category of human experience, holding two related premises: men and women have different perceptions or experiences in the same contexts, the male perspective having been dominant in fields of knowledge; and that gender is not a natural fact but a social construct, a subject to study in any humanistic discipline. This challenging collection of essays by prominent feminist literary critics offers a comprehensive introduction to modes of critical practice being used to trace the construction of gender in literature. The collection provides an invaluable overview of current femionist critical thinking. Its essays address a wide range of topics: the rerlevance of gender scholarship in the social sciences to literary criticism; the tradition of women's literature and its relation to the canon; the politics of language; French theories of the feminine; psychoanalysis and feminism; feminist criticism of writing by lesbians and black women; the relationship between female subjectivity, class, and sexuality; feminist readings of the canon.


It is easy to see that we are living in a time of rapid and radical social change. It is much less easy to grasp the fact that such change will inevitably affect the nature of those disciplines that both reflect our society and help to shape it.

Yet this is nowhere more apparent than in the central field of what may, in general terms, be called literary studies. Here, among large numbers of students at all levels of education, the erosion of the assumptions and presuppositions that support the literary disciplines in their conventional form has proved fundamental. Modes and categories inherited from the past no longer seem to fit the reality experienced by a new generation.

New Accents is intended as a positive response to the initiative offered by such a situation. Each volume in the series will seek to encourage rather than resist the process of change; to stretch rather than reinforce the boundaries that currently define literature and its academic study.

Some important areas of interest immediately present themselves. In various parts of the world, new methods of analysis haye been developed whose conclusions reveal the limitations of the Anglo-American outlook we inherit. New concepts of literary forms and modes have been proposed; new notions of the nature of literature itself and of how it communicates are current; new views of literature's role in relation to society

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