Most of the women have since faded from view. But Messenger suggests the time has come to rediscover them, to reassess their work, and to revise the commonly accepted canon of literature accordingly. Although most of the studies deal with the way women's writing responds to writing by men, the Afterword combats the charge that the women's work is "derivative."
Free of critical jargon and ideological strait-jacketing, His and Hers makes some little-known writers available and interesting to specialists and nonspecialists, feminists and traditionalists, alike, while it sheds new light on some of the most familiar figures of the period. The Appendix reprints some of the shorter works which have been analyzed in detail, and summaries in the text help to compensate for the unavailability of some of the women's books. The comparative approach suggests a wide and rich field for further research.