The purposes of this book are to put before a high school, undergraduate, and general audience the works of a representative number of feminist writers over the past several centuries and to have it serve as a reference companion for the student. While the volume focuses primarily on English and American writers, it also includes a number of world authors whose works might often be taught in the classroom. The volume addresses early writers, such as Christine de Pizan of the fourteenth century, to writers publishing in the twenty-first century. Works addressed in the volume are generally those written in English, but I include some significant works in translation, particularly if they have had an important impact on feminist studies in America and other English-speaking countries. Authors represent a number of nationalities including, among others, Chilean, Brazilian, Indian, South African, Australian, French, and German.
Readers may have instant recognition of some of the authors and will find others unfamiliar. The lack of familiarity with many of the writers underscores the need for a book such as this. Many women writers throughout the centuries have been marginalized and erased from the general canon of literature. It is to the credit of feminist scholars in particular that the works of many women have been recovered, reevaluated, and reintroduced into the literary canon. Through the work of recovery, many women writers are finding a place of visibility that they did not enjoy just a generation ago, and, concomitantly, many readers of literature have found a whole new body of written works to excite and challenge them. Excerpts from the work of many of these authors are now available in anthologies, and, thus, they are gaining an even greater recognition and readership.
Because the work of historical recovery of texts is ongoing, and because there is a great and growing number of contemporary feminist writers, this volume in no way pretends to be exhaustive in its listing of feminist writers worthy of study.