Slip-Shod Sybils: Recognition, Rejection, and the Woman Poet

Overview

The term 'slip-shod sibyls' is adapted from a gibe of Alexander Pope. It encapsulates the common contempt for the half-educated women who dared to expose themselves in the literary market-place, convinced that they were born poets. In this collection Germaine Greer argues that the problem is not that women who wrote poetry in English before 1900 were ignored but that, when most women were unable to express themselves in written form at all, and only a tiny minority of them dared to write in metre, the female poet...
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Overview

The term 'slip-shod sibyls' is adapted from a gibe of Alexander Pope. It encapsulates the common contempt for the half-educated women who dared to expose themselves in the literary market-place, convinced that they were born poets. In this collection Germaine Greer argues that the problem is not that women who wrote poetry in English before 1900 were ignored but that, when most women were unable to express themselves in written form at all, and only a tiny minority of them dared to write in metre, the female poet was given undue attention, flattered and exploited only to be rejected and humiliated in her own lifetime and forgotten by posterity. She argues that as much as we yearn to have women's poetry seriously studied in schools and universities, what has come down to us is not worthy of inclusion in the canon, for all kinds of reasons. In many cases the texts are inauthentic and cannot be relied upon to represent women's work or women's sensibility. In virtually all cases the poetry is intensely derivative and cannot be evaluated by readers who are unfamiliar with the poets' models.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670849147

Meet the Author

Germaine Greer
Germaine Greer

Germaine Greer is a writer, academic, and critic, and is widely regarded as one of the most significant feminist voices of our time. Her bestselling books include The Female Eunuch and The Whole Woman. She lives in northwest Essex, England, and has taught Shakespeare at universities in Australia, Britain, and the United States.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Prologue
1 The Muse 1
2 Poet, Poetaster, Poetess 36
3 The Transvestite Poet 65
4 The Enigma of Sappho 102
5 The Rewriting of Katherine Philips 147
6 Did Aphra Behn Earn a Living by her Pen? 173
7 Aphra Behn as Ghostwriter 197
8 Rochester's Niece 214
9 Wordsworth and Winchilsea: The Progress of an Error 245
10 Success and the Single Poet: The Sad Tale of L. E. L. 259
11 The Perversity of Christina Rossetti 359
Epilogue 390
Notes 425
Index 502
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