The Language of Exclusion: The Poetry of Emily Dickinson and Christina Rossetti

The Language of Exclusion: The Poetry of Emily Dickinson and Christina Rossetti

The Language of Exclusion: The Poetry of Emily Dickinson and Christina Rossetti

The Language of Exclusion: The Poetry of Emily Dickinson and Christina Rossetti

Synopsis

Preface Illustrations Part I. Living in the World Overview Parallel Sketches Part II. Lives Emily Dickinson Christina Rossetti Part III. The Victorian World War Poems The Market is for Bankers, Burglars and Goblins Woman's Place/Woman's Nature Part IV. Conclusion Women Poets, Literary Influence and the Canon Notes Selected Bibliography Index to Dickinson's Poems Cited in Text Index to Rossetti's Poems Cited in Text Index

Excerpt

This book began with the perception that most biographies of nineteenth-century women poets written before 1960 portrayed the same stereotype: Nineteenth-century women poets were, for the most part, love-starved, frustrated spinster/recluses whose poetry sprang from torment. Reading Mary Ellmann Thinking About Women (1968) helped us see that these biographies derived more from stereotypes about women than from the poets' lives themselves. Kate Millett Sexual Politics (1970) extended and developed Ellmann's idea of "phallic criticism" by uncovering sexist biases not only in traditional literary portraits of women, but also throughout the fields of literary history and literary criticism. Other early feminist classics which gave rise to the present volume include Ellen Moers ' Literary Women (1976) which established the early theory of a female literary tradition based on thematic and metaphoric patterns. Elaine Showalter's early thesis of separate women's literary cultures which expressed different levels of feminist awareness, A Literature of Their Own (1977). inspired the meshings between women's literature and social history in this book.

Showalter new anthology, The New Feminist Criticism: Essays on Women, Literature and Theory (1985), has remained true to one of the early prescriptions for feminist literary criticism, that it examine the relationship of literature to life in order detect distortion and evaluate social impact. Since those early days of feminist literary criticism, however, the field has come to focus more on women poets' use of language than on the relationship of language to life or on the conditions out of which literature is born.

Especially in Dickinson and Rossetti criticism this has been so, not . . .

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