Writing Women's Literary History

Overview

By championing the recovery of "lost" women writers and insisting on reevaluating the past, women's studies and feminist theory have effected dramatic changes in the ways English literary history is written and taught. In Writing Women's Literary History, Margaret Ezell critically examines these successful women's literary histories and applies to them the same self-conscious feminism that critics have applied to more traditional methods. According to Ezell, by relying not only on past male scholarship but also ...

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Overview

By championing the recovery of "lost" women writers and insisting on reevaluating the past, women's studies and feminist theory have effected dramatic changes in the ways English literary history is written and taught. In Writing Women's Literary History, Margaret Ezell critically examines these successful women's literary histories and applies to them the same self-conscious feminism that critics have applied to more traditional methods. According to Ezell, by relying not only on past male scholarship but also on inherited notions of "tradition," some feminist historicists replicate the evolutionary, narrative model of history that originally marginalized women who wrote before 1700. Drawing both on French feminisms and on recent historicist scholarship, Ezell points us to new possibilities for the recovery of early modern women's literary history.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Yearbook of English Studies - Siv Jansson

Ezell's book is radical and revisionary, and especially interesting in its specificity and concentration on a neglected period of female writing. She is not afraid to take issue with established, even sacred, ideas in feminist writing, or to suggest that feminist literary criticism and history has been limited by its own prejudices and acceptance of questionable definitions of what is good and valid... Establishes many lost and missing names and texts within the margins of female literary history.

Boston Phoenix - Elaine Gale

From 'The Myth of Judith Shakespeare,' to 'Writings by Early Quaker Women,' Ezell's critique cuts a broad swath through women's literature.

Yearbook of English Studies
Ezell's book is radical and revisionary, and especially interesting in its specificity and concentration on a neglected period of female writing. She is not afraid to take issue with established, even sacred, ideas in feminist writing, or to suggest that feminist literary criticism and history has been limited by its own prejudices and acceptance of questionable definitions of what is good and valid... Establishes many lost and missing names and texts within the margins of female literary history.

— Siv Jansson

Boston Phoenix
From 'The Myth of Judith Shakespeare,' to 'Writings by Early Quaker Women,' Ezell's critique cuts a broad swath through women's literature.

— Elaine Gale

Journal of English and Germanic Philology

One hopes that her book will be read not only by scholars who have long agreed with her premise, but also by a wider audience that is unfamiliar with Renaissance genres and modes of publication.

Booknews
Ezell, (English, Texas A&M U.) argues that the recovery and interpretation of women's literary works is being conducted within the framework of values and assumptions established by male scholarship. The inherited notions of "tradition" and "progress" that marginalized women writers before 1700 must be recognized and replaced with feminist models. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801855085
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 10/16/1996
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.49 (d)

Meet the Author

Margaret J. M. Ezell is a professor of English at Texas A & M University. She is the author of The Patriarch's Wife: Literary Evidence and the History of the Family and editor of The Poems and Prose of Mary, Lady Chudleigh.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Patterns of Inquiry 1
1 A Tradition of Our Own: Writing Women's Literary History in the Twentieth Century 14
2 The Myth of Judith Shakespeare: Creating the Canon of Women's Literature in the Twentieth Century 39
3 The Tedious Chase: Writing Women's Literary History in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries 66
4 Memorials of the Female Mind: Creating the Canon of Women's Literature in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries 104
5 Breaking the Seventh Seal: Writings by Early Quaker Women 132
Conclusion: Revelations and Re-visioning 161
Notes 167
Bibliography 181
Index 195
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