A Literature of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Bronte to Lessing

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9780691013435: A Literature of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Bronte to Lessing


When first published in 1977, A Literature of Their Own quickly set the stage for the creative explosion of feminist literary studies that transformed the field in the 1980s. Launching a major new area for literary investigation, the book uncovered the long but neglected tradition of women writers in England. A classic of feminist criticism, its impact continues to be felt today.


This revised and expanded edition contains a new introductory chapter surveying the book's reception and a new postscript chapter celebrating the legacy of feminism and feminist criticism in the efflorescence of contemporary British fiction by women.


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Review:

Readers of this new, enlarged edition of the classic feminist study of British women novelists will find themselves delighted by Elaine Showalter's astute and acerbic critical intelligence. Showalter is one of the few scholars who can make her readers rush to their bookshelves to refute her point, or simply to experience again Jane Eyre, The Mill on the Floss, or the bitterly illuminating stories of Katherine Mansfield. Her chief innovation is to place the works of famous women writers beside those of the minor or forgotten, building a continuity of influence and inspiration as well as a more complete picture of the social conditions in which women's books have been produced. She has added a new introduction recounting, with justifiable pleasure, how daring and controversial her study seemed when it first appeared in 1977 (and how many enemies it made her). In an afterword, she touches on more recent developments in the women's novel in Britain, including the influence of the dazzling Angela Carter. --Regina Marler

About the Author:

Elaine Showalter is Avalon Foundation Professor of the Humanities and Professor of English at Princeton University. She has written and edited many books, including The Female Malady: Women, Madness and Society 1830-1980, Sister's Choice: Tradition and Change in American Women's Writing, Scribbling Women: Short Stories by Nineteenth-Century Women, and Hystories. She is currently working on a study of feminist intellectuals.

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