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Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631207535.1997.x


A term coined by Elaine S howalter to refer to the study of women's writings in order to construct women's literary history and explore questions of literary influence, tradition, I nter-textuality , and the processes by which significance is produced both generally and particularly in subjugated female communities. Because gynocritics is committed to a method that is sociohistorical and materialist, but not necessarily Marxist, it makes extensive use of scholarship in women's history, psychology, and sociology, and has aggressively expanded the definition of literature to include diaries, journals, and other previously neglected but culturally important forms of writing. Early gynocritical manifestos and discussions of method are collected in Showalter (1985), and one of the fullest realizations of gynocritical theory remains Showalter's A Literature of Their Own (1977). In the 1970s, scholars working on women of color criticized gynocritics’ racial biases, exclusions, and faulty generalizations, but through the 1970s and 1980s, most work on women writers of color can also be classified as gynocritical. One of gynocritics’ earliest projects (which remains ongoing) has been the recovery and reevaluation of a vast number of female-authored texts. Combined with similar projects in black and ethnic studies, this work has forced an extensive reconfiguration of the literary C anon ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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