After centuries of repression of the female voice in literature, the Meiji (1868-1912) and Taisho (1912-1926) periods in Japanese history saw important changes in both the way women wrote and the way they were read. However, even the most accepted female writers of these two eras were judged by criteria different from those applied to men, and only the most conservative were praised by the (male) critics. This study of the women who wrote in the modern era examines both famous and now-obscure writers within the context of their moments in time and their influence on later generations of Japanese women writers. Arranged chronologically, the book covers the pioneering women of the early Meiji period, the ethos of reactionary conservatism, the romantic movement in poetry, women writers of the naturalist school, Taisho liberalism, and the new era of literary women. An introduction outlines the various schools of Japanese female writers during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as the social and cultural trends that helped produce them. The text is appropriate for both well-read scholars of Japanese literature and newcomers to the works of the "fair ladies of the back chamber," as these creative and driven writers were once called.