This study contends that audience is crucial to women's writing, especially for those who would challenge the canon, and my efforts here were greatly facilitated by various audiences. My sincerest thanks go to Alicia Ostriker for her example as a teacher and mentor and for her unflagging support during the many years in which this project took shape. Martine Brownley, similarly, was an attentive listener and invaluable supporter. Kathy Crown, Linda Wagner-Martin, and Crystal Woods also provided acute commentary on parts of the manuscript, as did many audience members at various conferences on women's literature and religion in recent years. Sheila Hassel Hughes and Kim Whitehead patiently endured poetic versions of some of this material, even as my students helped me to approach it pedagogically. I appreciate my editor, Elisabetta Linton, for her commitment to this book. My greatest thanks must go to the people who supported me during the seemingly endless years of graduate work when this project was conceived: my parents, James and Linda Brown, and my partner, Brian Mendelsohn.