Categories
Essays Literature Theory

Making a Difference: Feminist Literary Criticism

Making a Difference: Feminist
Literary Criticism
Gayle Greene,
Coppélia Kahn (eds)
Routledge London
& New York
1985

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 feminist critical thinking. Its essays address a wide range of topics: the relevance 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.

This survey of the present state of feminist literary criticism defines the current options and opens us many possibilities for debate and practice in teaching and research … this is a rich and encouraging book in its informative overview from several perspectives and in its suggestiveness of where we can go on from here.

Women’s Review

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Feminist scholarship and the social construction of women / Gayle Greene and Coppélia Kahn
Chapter 2: Varieties of feminist criticism / Sydney Janet Kaplan
Chapter 3: The politics of language: beyond the gender principle? / Nelly Furman
Chapter 4: Inscribing femininity: French theories of the feminine / Ann Rosalind Jones
Chapter 5: Mind mother: psychoanalysis and feminism / Judith Kegan Gardiner
Chapter 6: Pandora’s box: subjectivity, class and sexuality in socialist feminist criticism / Cora Kaplan
Chapter 7: What has never been an overview of lesbian feminist criticism / Bonnie Zimmerman
Chapter 8: Black women writers taking a critical perspective / Susan Willis
Chapter 9: Notorious signs, feminist criticism and literary tradition / Adrienne Munich