This book is an exploration of women's writing that focuses on the close links between literary texts and the theories that construct those texts as `women's writing'. Each chapter deals with one of the issues or concepts that have engaged both authors and theorists - rhetoric, work, consciousness, nature, class and race. A detailed analysis shows how each concept has been used by feminists to construct a specific text in such a way that it is received as a work of `women's writing', particularly in American literature.
Using canonical texts, from Charlotte Perkins Gilman through Kate Chopin and Willa Cather to Alice Walker and Ann Beattie, Madsen engages with the major debates within feminist studies. Moving on from Showalter's groundbreaking work to broaden the trajectory of feminist concern, this book is an accessible account of the varieties of feminist thought within the context of the key American texts.
Deborah L. Madsen is Professor of American Literature at the University of Geneva, and the author of numerous books on aspects of literature, genre, gender and allegory, including Beyond the Borders (Pluto Press, 2003) and Feminist Theory and Literary Practice (Pluto Press, 2000).
Preface Introduction: Feminism in America 1. Gender and Rhetoric: Liberal Feminism and Mary Rowlandson 2. Gender and Work: Marxist Feminism and Charlotte Perkins Gilman 3. Gender and Consciousness: Psychoanalytic Feminism and Kate Chopin 4. Gender and Nature: Ecofeminism and Willa Cather 5. Gender and Sexuality: Radical Feminism and Adrienne Rich 6. Gender and Class: Socialist Feminism and Ann Beattie 7. Gender and Race: Feminism of Colour and Alice Walker, Denise Chavez, Leslie Marmon Silko, Maxine Hong Kingston Bibliography Index