Feminism and american literary history essays

Feminism in Literature Women's Literature in the 19th Century - Essay

Toward the end of the century, nineteenth-century women writers expanded their subject matter, moving beyond highlighting the lives and hardships suffered by women locked in domestic prisons.

Methods employed[ edit ] Feminist scholarship has developed a variety of ways to unpack literature in order to understand its essence through a feminist lens.

Instead, they increasingly expressed their individualism and demanded more equal partner-ships—in marriage, public life, law, and politics—with men.

Feminist literary criticism

Feminism had always been criticized for being a predominantly white, upperclass movement and for its failure to adequately understand and represent the concerns of poor, African-American, and Hispanic women. The emotionalism of poetry, particularly poetry in which depth of feeling and sentiment, morality, and intuition were expressed and celebrated, was considered a "feminine genre," suitable for women writers.

At the same time, new feminist literary critics examine the universal images used by women writers to uncover the unconscious symbolism women have used to describe themselves, their world, female society across time and nationalities to uncover the specifically feminine language in literature.

Regardless, these scholars continue to employ a variety of methods to explore the identity of Black feminism in literature. It has also considered gender in the terms of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysisas part of the deconstruction of existing relations of power, and as a concrete political investment.

Finally, the many social reform movements led by nineteenth-century women, such as religious revivalism, abolitionism, temperance, and suffrage, gave women writers a context, an audience, and a forum in which they could express their views.

During the early s, the civil rights movement gathered momentum, aided by new anti-racist legislation, and reached a major goal in with the passage of the Civil Rights Act. The number of published women authors was greater in the nineteenth century than in any preceding century.

The period between and the early s was marked by two world wars and a subsequent economic boom that brought many American women into the workplace, initially to provide labor during the war, and then to help achieve and maintain a new higher standard of living enjoyed by many middle-class families.

Their concerns echoed in the neoconservative writings of authors such as Naomi Wolf, Susan Faludi, and Camille Paglia. An Anthology, edited by Cade is seen as essential to the rise of Black literary criticism and theory.

Some decided to analyze the Black experience through their relationship to the Western world. The growth of market economies, cities, and life expectancies changed how women in Europe and the United States were expected to conform to new societal pressures, and made many women more conscious of their imposed social, legal, and political inequality.

By this time, scholars were not only interested in simply demarcating narratives of oppression but also creating a literary space for past, present and future female literary scholars to substantiate their experience in a genuine way that appreciates the aesthetic form of their works.

As time moved forward, the theory began to disperse in ideology. Beginning with the interrogation of male-centric literature that portrayed women in a demeaning and oppressed model, theorist such as Mary Ellman, Kate Millet and Germaine Greer challenged past imaginations of the feminine within literary scholarship.

The movement had already splintered in the s along the lines of liberal feminists, who focused on the rights of women as individuals; radical feminists, who aligned themselves with revolutionary groups, viewing women as a disenfranchised class of citizens; and lesbians, who had been very much a part of the early feminist movement, but now found more in common with the gay liberation movement.

Additionally, Black literary feminist scholars began to emerge, in the post-Civil Rights era of the United States, as a response to the masculine-centric narratives of Black empowerments began to gain momentum over female voices.

Others began to connect their works to the politics of lesbianism. Currently, several university scholars all employ the usage of literary feminism when critiquing texts.

During that same time, Deborah E. However, as women joined the workforce they became increasingly aware of their unequal economic and social status. In retrospect, the early s has been termed the "first wave" of the feminist movement, and the activists of the s and s have been called the "second wave.

Many decided to shift towards the nuanced psychological factors of the Black experience and further away from broad sweeping generalizations. While most scholars agree that many women writers expressly or tacitly accepted the separate sphere of domesticity that the age assumed of them, they also argue that as the century progressed, an increasing number of women began to express, in their writing, their dissatisfaction with gender relations and the plight of women in general.

The ultimate goal of any of these tools is to uncover and expose patriarchal underlying tensions within novels and interrogate the ways in which our basic literary assumptions about such novels are contingent on female subordination. Third wave feminism and feminist literary criticism is concerned more with the intersection of race and other feminist concerns.

The literary scholarship also included began with the perception of Black female writers being under received relative to their talent.

This mostly younger generation of feminists would also stress the need to broaden the scope of feminism, emphasizing global networking, human rights, worldwide economic justice, and issues pertaining to race, gender, and class.

Some modern critics have continued to disregard the contributions of nineteenth-century women authors, while others have noted that by the end of the century, women novelists were more prevalent, and often more popular, than male novelists. Feminist groups followed the example set by these movements, adopting the techniques of consciousness raising, protests, demonstrations, and political lobbying in order to further their own agenda.

McDowell published New Directions for Black Feminist Criticism, which called for a more theoretical school of criticism versus the current writings, which she deemed overly practical. The Combahee River Collective released what is called one of the most famous pieces in Black literary scholarship known as "A Black Feminist Statement"which sought to prove that literary feminism was an important component to black female liberation.

The student movement was also at its height in the s, leading many younger citizens to question traditional social values and to protest against American military involvement in Vietnam.

Today, writers like Gloria E.

List of American feminist literature

The book specifically argues that women have largely been considered in two distinct categories by men in academia, monsters or angels. The mainstreaming of this school has given academia an extremely useful tool in raising questions over the gender relationships within texts.

More specifically, modern feminist criticism deals with those issues related to the perceived intentional and unintentional patriarchal programming within key aspects of society including education, politics and the work force.

During the s, American society was colored by an increasingly conservative political climate and the feminist movement experienced a backlash within their ranks and from anti-feminist detractors. Moreover, works that historically received little or no attention, given the historical constraints around female authorship in some cultures, are able to be heard in their original form and unabridged.

Within second-wave feminism, three phases can be defined: By employing a wide range of female sexual exploration and lesbian and queer identities by those like Rita Felski and Judith Bennet, women were able attract more attention about feminist topics in literature.The following is a list of American feminist literature listed by year of first publication, then within the year alphabetically by title.

Feminism in Literature The Feminist Movement in the 20th Century - Essay

Books and magazines are in italics, all. Modern critical analysis of nineteenth-century women's literature seeks, in part, to understand the underlying reasons that women authors, especially in America, Britain, and France, were able to.

The American s: A Literary History Beginning with the stock market crash of and ending with America's entry into the Second World War, the long Depression decade was a period of immense social, economic and political turmoil.

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Feminism and Religion Rita M. Gross. out of 5 stars 3. Paperback. Feminism and American Literary History: Essays Nina Baym. Paperback. $ # in FEMINIST LITERARY CRITICISM. Gift Ideas in FEMINIST LITERARY CRITICISM ‹ Any Department ‹ Books.

2 Like the critical work of this first generation of academic feminists, several of Baym’s essays in Feminism and American Literary History are engaged in the revisionary work of analyzing both images of women and writings by women as a means of challenging conventional definitions of American women and traditional accounts of American.

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Feminism and american literary history essays
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