A “feminine sentence”: In the Times Literary Supplement (1923), Virginia Woolf decided that her contemporary Dorothy Richardson

had found a sentence that we might call the ‘psychological sentence’ of the feminine gender. It was a woman’s sentence, but only in the sense that it is used to describe a woman’s mind by a writer who is neither proud nor afraid of anything that she may discover in the psychology of her sex. [Goodman] Androcentric: A view of theory that is male-centred. Focused or centred on men. [Beasley, Encarta] Anon: Anonymous. In a famous quotation, Virginia Woolf emphasizes that many women wrote in previous generations, but that social factors to do with gender kept many writers “anonymous,” hidden, silenced or otherwise excluded from the “canon.” [Goodman] “An Obstacle”: A poem by Charlotte Perkins Gilman that can be read as a piece about the “obstacles” of gender stereotypes and prejudices which blocked the progress of women writers for so long. The narrator and author of the poem has experienced a lack of cooperation and support from the social world, characterized by “Prejudice.” Gilman shows women striving to move ahead, patriarchal attitudes standing in the way. “Prejudice” faces all writers who do not conform to some “norm” of acceptability or importance. The author recognizes the joy of moving beyond an obstacle, whether personal or general. [Goodman] Bachelor: positive masculine category set against feminine equivalents like “spinster.” “Buddy” from brother is also a good thing in opposition to “sissy” derived from sister. [ Beasley] Domestic fiction: The term alludes to traditional representations of women’s roles in the home, and then with reference to the feminist writing which challenged and continues to challenge such traditions. [Goodman] “Female writing” (“écriture feminine”): A term coined by Hélène Cixous to refer to women’s writing, which derives from women’s unique experience. [Goodman] Feminism: A recognition of the historical and cultural subordination of women and a resolve to do something about it. The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. It is a critical theory that refuses what it describes as the masculine bias of mainstream Western thinking on the basis that this bias renders women invisible/marginal to understanding of humanity and distorts understandings of men. Feminism is a critical stance that decentres the assumptions of the mainstream in terms of centre (men)/periphery (women). For the Feminists the notion of woman is placed centre stage. The issue of rights for women first became prominent during the French and American revolutions in the late eighteenth century. [Goodman, Drabble, Beasley, Oxford]

Typically refers to the social process of dividing up people and social practices along the lines of sexed identities. In Britain it was not until the emergence of the suffragette movement in the late nineteenth century that there was a significant political change. in anthologies and academic courses. though using the gender neutral language of “humanity. The growth of feminist literary criticism has helped us to study gender as it is represented in literature and other art forms. Feminist criticism has become a varied field of debate rather than an agreed position. Early European feminist writings began with the work of Simone de Beauvoir. [Goodman. while Anglo-American writing is often associated with Virginia Woolf.” and “reason. eighteenth and nineteenth-century Liberalism. Encarta. [Goodman. Beasley] Gender: Social or cultural category based on the ways of seeing and representing people and situations influenced by sex difference. its critique of Liberalism. it usually refers to the categories of men and women and the social practices which associate men . current) feminist awareness. [Beasley] “Firing the canon”: The phrase means a revaluation of the standards by which authors and texts have been singled out and “canonized”. However. Early Liberal feminists proposed women’s inclusion in the Liberal universal conception of a human common nature as well as a common action political agenda.” rested in practice upon a notional man and was indeed confined to men. It was marked by its critique of dominant Western thinking of the time. [Goodman] Feminist and Masculinity Studies: they tend to line up together and focus on the significance of gender (sexed identities). Drabble] Feminist literature: The literary corpus written by contemporary women within the context of “second wave” or even “third wave” (that is. In modern Western societies.” “individual.Feminist literary criticism: An academic approach to the study of literature which applies feminist thought to the analysis of literary texts and the contexts of their production and reception. that is. Thus. followed by an active search for other authors and texts for inclusion. [Goodman] “First-wave feminism”: The syntagm often refers to the Suffragists who believed in fighting for women’s rights rallied around one central cause: women’s right to vote. Frequently involves creating hierarchies between divisions. A modern tradition of literary commentary and controversy devoted to the defence of women’s writing or of fictional female characters against the condescensions of a predominantly male literary establishment. Its substantial achievements are seen in the readmission of temporarily forgotten women authors to the literary canon in modern reprints and newly commissioned studies by feminist publishing houses such as Virago (1977) and the Women’s Press (1978). The beginnings of this movement are to be found in the journalism of Rebecca West from about 1910. Feminist authors have a political and ideological agenda in the writing of their work. some knowledge of the author’s intentions is necessary. Literature may have a feminist impact even if its authors do not identify themselves as feminist.

Carol Gilligan. [Goodman. they argue that universal presumptions are in fact not neutral but derived from men or notions of the masculine and constitutes women as outsiders. Although it is commonly linked to notions of reproduction. The language of the piece and the gendering of the other characters in the story reveal that Alice is at odds in a maledominated. Like the Emancipatory feminists. The aim of Gender Difference feminists is to acknowledge difference positively by revaluing the marginal. thus. Most of the creatures encountered by the fictional . Gender/Sexual Difference approaches share with Feminist Identity Politics the common theme of the incommensurability of the sexes and the importance of celebrating rather than suppressing difference in social life. language and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865): Alice is ahead of its time because it is an example of children’s fiction with a female protagonist. Sexual Difference theorists do not assume that women have any particular qualities that can be contrasted with those of men. [Goodman. Beasley] Gender/Sexual Difference thinking: Writers such as Nancy Chodorow. but revalue the Feminine as representing in cultural terms “difference” from the (masculine) norm. Language is created in so far as all authors use language. [Goodman] Gender and language: All writing is gendered so far as all authors use language.with public life and women and domestic life. spoken and written in culture. by revaluing the feminine. Feminist commentators note that in Western thought to speak of men is taken as speaking universally. some analysts reject its connection to social interpretation of reproductive biological distinctions. where each of us has a sex and a gender. intelligent and engaging. However. Mary Daly. writes as a process of healing and emotional release. That is the case of Charlotte Perkins Gilman who. sewing and needlework represent those forms of work and a metaphor for female expression which operates on many levels simultaneously. and language is created. women and girls in fiction are occupied with certain kinds of creative work. Beasley] Gender and creative work: In the nineteenth century. Some commentators see it more in terms of social interactions and institutions that from groups. as a structuring process. [Beasley] Gender. some other women use writing as a way to express creative freedom. By revaluing the Feminine. A way of texting the “gender-relevance” of a text is deciding what relationships of power and authority are conveying through the language and characterization of a text. Most of the fantastic creatures encountered by Alice are gendered male and they are male for a reason: they serve a function to do with language and power in a male-dominated world. and Luce Irigaray speak for an alternative worldview which recognizes and highlights difference. both in her story “The Yellow Newspaper” and in her own life. male-controlled world. Unlike the other children’s stories written in the previous generation. inquisitive. they envisage plurality in society. She values creative freedom and intellectual stimulation over the domestic. the central character is active. Weaving.

by a man. Masculinity. It is only used in relation to the Lady by way of analogy to a seer. It means paying attention to factors such as women’s relative lack of access to higher education. often expressed through their “mastery” of. Gender/Sexuality theories and all its subfields are committed to social reform. and the conflict between nurturing roles such as motherhood and domestic work. The subfields show a concern with some level of social change that resists the existing hierarchy of sex and power. a new language. [Goodman] Gender. Eliza Doolittle is a woman constructed. The male playwright –G. B. are no longer open to her. [Goodman] “Gender on the agenda”: The process of reading with a concern for gender issues that affects the writing or reading of texts. women lower economic status. and of seeing herself. The female narrator describes her feelings of frustration at being told not to write. For Eliza Doolittle language is inextricably tied to gender and class issues. [Goodman. Shaw– shows the brutality of the patriarchal system of language and power which entraps her. Her previous ways of using language.Alice are male or endowed with masculine power and authority. language and “The Yellow Wallpaper” (1892): male power determines meaning by assuming the right to designate “correct” uses of language and rules for female behaviour. and implicit in that frustration is a desire to be the one who writes her own story. and Sexuality Studies. Gilman uses language to create a picture of reality: to show what is presented as “reason” by men. imagistically and linguistically. who uses language to represent her own self. or at least social destabilisation. language and Pygmalion (1916): Professor Higgins undertakes his task in order to win a bet and to prove his own points about English speech and the class system: he teaches Eliza Doolittle to speak standard English and introduces her to a successfully social life. The political and social views of G. Gilman is critical of Doctor John. Feminist. The entire narrative becomes the expression of a stifled creative voice in the form of a secret journal. B. but recently have begun to allow for more plural sexual identities. the female narrator’s husband. She is not the subject of active verbs but a passive presence in contrast with an active man and an active landscape. The word “bold” is used in the poem in relation to Sir Lancelot. Drabble] Gender. Drabble] Gender/Sexuality Theories: includes a full range of major subfields of gender/sexuality theory―that is. [Goodman] Gender. Beasley outlines five main directions spreading across the Modernist-Postmodern continuum that focus on the Human –Modernist . the Lady of the title is disempowered by language itself. appropriate. [Goodman. but her criticism is not expressed in any direct terms within the text but through our sympathy with the confined woman. gendered male. All the subfields are characterized by an inclination to challenge the notion of a proper. natural “norm” in relation to gender and sexuality. and experimentation with language. It involves the reader in an active process of imagination and interpretation. The knowledge she has acquired of language and social relations makes her enter a new culture. women’s domestic responsibilities. These subfields tend to focus on only two sexes. Shaw are expressed through the mouths of his characters. language and “The Lady of Shalott” (1832): In this Victorian poem of Arthurian echoes.

” A body of approved works. or writings considered to represent the best standards of a given literary tradition. (Singular) Difference –Identity Politics to “Sexual Difference” feminisms–. of liberation for women. [Goodman] Gynocentric: centred on or concerned exclusively with women. In some occasions madness is a means of escape. [Goodman. [Goodman] “Literary canon”: It is the body of writings generally recognized as “great” by some “authority. race or sexuality produce a shared experience and a related commonality. which provides a widely accepted model legitimizing masculine social dominance. prose fiction. literature. (Multiple) Differences –race. insisting on the degree to . prose fiction. Academic courses in sociology. ethnicity. [Goodman. and psychology which focus on the roles. [Beasley] Literature: Body of writing that aims to be creative. experiences. imperialism and feminism–. taking a female (or specifically a feminist) point of view. and achievements of women in society. [Goodman] “Gestalt” view of literature and gender: It analyses the patterns involved in reading and interpreting literature. Relational Social Power –Feminist Social Constructionism–. rights and status of women and men. comprising either writings genuinely considered to be those of a given author. [Goodman] Madness in Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë: Both Sense and Sensibility (1811) and Jane Eyre (1847) resists romanticizing mental breakdown. Encarta. this topic often relates to the conflict between artistic and domestic sensibilities. It includes poetry. [Encarta] Hegemonic masculinity: refers to the most valuable and most rewarded form of masculinity. The three major literary genres are poetry. [Beasley] Identity politics: reflects the idea that characteristics derived from gender. Teaching programmes centrally focused on Masculinity under the rubric of gender studies also pay attention to sexuality. Beasley] Genre: Term used to distinguish between distinct types of writing. and drama. For Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar the frequency with which women have written about madness is to be seen as one of the most revealing symptoms of their own feelings of entrapment and oppression. and drama. and Fluidity/Instability –Postmodern feminism. while Sexuality Studies programmes discuss writers who. Drabble] Madness in literature: From a gendered perspective. [Beasley] Gender Studies: A concern with the representation. debate gender matters. art or thought. at the very least. history. such as “relational” and “individualist” feminisms and “equality” and “difference” feminisms.(Emancipatory/Liberationsit) feminisms–. Some critics have distinguished two major groupings or standards within the field of Feminist Studies.

[Goodman] Masculinity Studies: offers a critical stance on sex and power but. Elaine Showalter notes that madness is the price women artists have to pay for the exercise of their creativity in a male-dominated culture. Along with “compulsory heterosexuality. [Beasley] “Pro-feminist”: Still debated by feminist criticism. the American writer Louisa May Alcott wrote about depressions connected with the struggle to balance artistic creativity with domesticity. gender is a masquerade and there is nothing behind or before this “mask. [Goodman] Madness in The Female Malady: In her influential study. its quality of repression. [Beasley] Patriarchy: In Feminism. Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion . System or society of government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it.which the literary fashion for ornamental female insanity debilitated and degraded women. it is a term sometimes used for men sympathetic to feminist concerns. [Oxford. A system or society of government in which the father or eldest male is head of the family and descent is reckoned through the male line.” the term “patriarchy” indicate the negative nature of power. Jane Eyre is antithetical to Victorian ideals of femininity in a way which can be interpreted as feminist. men and masculinity. [Goodman] Madness in “The Yellow Wallpaper”: In this representative story what drives the narrator mad is the confinement of her creative imagination. work and desire.” Postmodern views are even more strongly but have had limited impact on Masculinity Studies. They assert that there is no “truth” behind identity. it still primarily attends to white middle-class heterosexual men. Brontë manipulates Bertha Mason’s character and depicts her as different from the sentimental madwomen usually found in preceding novels. The story of Jane Eyre exhibits the bright independent heroine. attends to those that are traditionally central to Western thinking―that is. Indeed. There is an expansion of difference towards differences. a woman who struggles with learning. systemic and trans-historical male domination over women. Madness could be an escape from one kind of cage into another. For them. The novels resist the depiction of madness as the product of a naturally unstable femininity. Beasley] Postmodern feminism: offers the multiplication of difference that appears in the group difference(s) approaches. while this subfield has become more attentive to diversity. towards a plurality that resists any set identities. [Goodman] Madness in Moods: In her novels. rather than focusing on the marginalized. Such literary works as Jane Eyre and Pygmalion can be defined as pro-feminist. Post-modern feminists intent to destabilize the very conception of identity (human or group) and the binary identities (such as men and women).

[Goodman. and upon cultural/symbolic and literary/textual issues. more recently there has been a growing body of work in Sexuality Studies concerned with heterosexuality. with “mainstream” sexuality. participating in social tasks as men do. For them. Its aim is to throw off macro structures of power that oppress women and other subordinated groups as far as to propound a particular notion of the self less tied to a particular account of competitive masculinity. Sex is ineluctably a matter of human organization―that is. Socialist feminisms and additionally Radical feminism.escapes her creator and becomes a character with more integrity and humanity than Professor Higgins. [Oxford. Europe and America in the 1960s and 1970s. and attempted to combat social and cultural inequalities. [Beasley] Sexuality Studies: focus upon the organization of desire (not on having or doing sex per se. it has an “emancipatory” orientation or Modernist approach which consists of assimilating women into society. gay. upon affirming women as a group and gynocentrism. associated with social dominance and subordination. a fact they would necessarily transform that society. her male counterpart. Popular renderings of Feminism often presuppose the politics of Liberal feminism during this second wave. aims to destabilize identity through the construction of a supposedly “inclusive.” non-normative (almost invariably nonheterosexual) sexuality and a simultaneous dismantling of gender roles. intersex) and/or Queer Studies. Seminal figures included Betty Friedan and Germaine Greer. [Beasley] Sexual embodiment: attends to critical analyses of gender and sexual relations. categories of men and women cannot be seen as self-evident identities that are always the same and bear the same social consequences everywhere. bisexual. it is political. Women must be assimilated into an enhanced view of the social world. Nevertheless. Marxist. Like first-wave feminism. as well as capable of change. but upon sexualities). [Beasley] Race/ethnicity/imperialism feminists: they wish to revalue and affirm group difference and identities. During the second wave of feminism gender difference was increasingly promoted: the focus was more upon women’s difference than from men. [Beasley] Sexual difference: coverall term for the field of study of sexed identities. Sexuality Studies is mostly (like Feminism) concerned with marginalized identities and practices (lesbian. Beasley] Sexed regimes: identities and practices typically involving categories such as men and women. “Second-wave feminism”: “movement” focused particularly on women’s rights with an emphasis on unity and sisterhood. However. in feminist writings the second wave refers to at least four main directions: (reworked versions of) Liberal. It began during the political upheaval in England. Beasley] Sex: Biological category that distinguishes between male and female. transgender. [Beasley] . [Goodman] Queer theory: typically focused upon the question of individual identity.

but is created by relations of power. much revised for the 1842 Poems. which became the infamous tokens of her “advanced” nature. and was the subject of many illustrations. progressive views and conduct. offers a critique of both Emancipatory and Gender Difference approaches in that both of the latter accounts stress relatively fixed notions of identity. along with Postmodernism. Shaw in Pygmalion (1913) and Mrs. the mysterious lady’s self-discipline snaps and she resigns herself to her doom.” [Goodman] “The female malady”: Elaine Showalter has used this phrase to refer to both the female experience of domestic confinement and to the identification of mental and emotional disturbances in women which could be called “female disorders. The Lady was one of the several enchanted or imprisoned maidens to capture the Victorian imagination. The poster of the performance of Sydney Grundy’s play The New Woman. which was a way of transgression of the social boundaries that require middle-class women to be dependent on either father. shows a young woman in black in a cabinet with a large latchkey and a smouldering cigarette. including the notable ones by Waterhouse. It suggests a new. Ibsen influenced G. When Sir Lancelot rides past on his way to Camelot. the opening out of a new world order. performed at the Comedy Theatre in London in 1894. [Beasley] “The domestication of insanity”: With this phrase. is not an inherent essence. Sometimes it refers to a person’s sexual orientation as heterosexual. a window that shows her the outside world to which she cannot access directly. bisexual or homosexual. The . without looking out of the window. They describe truth and power in universal macro terms and power is largely perceived as negative domination. The lovely victim of an evil curse. Millais. B. more independent kind of woman who can act with self-determining.Sexuality: The realm of sexual experience and desire. Warren’s Profession (1931). she is bound to stick to her enchanted weaving task night and day. husband of brother.” [Goodman] “The Lady of Shallot”: A poem by Tennyson published in 1832. Rossetti and Holman Hunt. [Drabble] The “New Woman:” Goodman suggests that this phrase might have come into the minds of members of the first audience of A Doll’s House by the end of the scene between Nora and Mrs Linde in Act I. Social Constructionism. the first contributions to the new age of “New Women” in the theatre. Both plays demonstrate an underlying hostility to the whole notion of the New Woman because of the fact that these women could work or deal with money. Elaine Showalter suggests how she connects domestic confinement and oppression with “madness. [Goodman] Social Constructionist Feminists: they argue that “difference” does not adhere in the self/identity. “New” signified ‘good’.

” in which she discerns sinister patterns and. In “The Yellow Newspaper” the narrator of the story sees herself reflected in a symbolic mirror because the figures she sees moving behind the wallpaper are all versions of herself. for example. It often positions itself in antagonism to more established feminist projects and displays doubts about the concept of women as a broad social grouping. and may be read as a simple ghost story or as a feminist text. and lasted up to the early 1990s. Perkins Gilman stated that the little book saved one woman from a similar fate. [Goodman] . Norton] “Third-wave feminism”: It started approximately in 1980. they separate public and private spheres. [Goodman] “The woman’s masculine language”: Juliet Mitchell points out that there is not a female writing or a woman’s voice but the hysteric’s voice who speaks “masculinely” in a phallocentric world talking about feminine experience. Beasley] Trans politics: showing a similar path to Queer Theory. real and imaginary spaces where they are allowed to enter and to exit. but to save people from being driven crazy. Perkins Gilman wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper” after a severe nervous breakdown. A specialist in mental diseases advised her to have two hours’ intellectual life a day but she cast his advice to the winds and went to work again as she was so near the border line of utter mental ruin. It included renewed campaigning for women’s greater influence on politics. eventually. doors and mirrors: In women’s fiction. which later developed in the plays of the suffrage movement. Cracked mirrors often represent fractured identities or horror of recognition. she is largely confined to a room with paper of a “smouldering unclean yellow. Supervised and compelled by the authority of her physician husband John. It is the first person narration of a young mother isolated in a country colonial mansion. She also added that it was not intended to drive people crazy. The story chronicles the female character’s descend into madness. [Beasley] Windows. Queer theorists. increasingly critiquing and rejecting notions of fixed identity. This movement suggests the idea that the goals of second wave feminism have been achieved and/or that his older form of feminism is now outmoded because it is overly focused on women’s victimized status. In “The Lady of Shalott” the mirror shows her the outside world to which she can’t have access. [Goodman] “The Yellow Wallpaper”: A short story written by Charlotte Anna Perkins Gilman. arguing that this category is unhelpful. under the supervision of a nurse. [Drabble. Sometimes it refers to recent feminist thinkers who are attuned to differences between women and are dubious about collective political action. and tend to ignore or reject gender.Norwegian playwright’s work was instrumental in a developing trend for strong women on the stage. the movements of imprisoned women. dismiss any assertions that gender and sexuality are inevitably joined. and published in May 1892 in the New England Magazine. represents the specific avowal of gender and sexual ambiguity (the avowal of a positioning as. of other trapped women. neither a man nor woman). and it worked [Drabble. in particular.

sexual harassment. these feminist perceived sexuality as intimately tied to normative power. domestic violence. voting rights. economic. urging social reform to these obstacles. Some women’s literature conveys feminist ideas and affects readers in a “consciousness raising” style. it means the liberation of women from inequalities and subservient status in relation to men. She offers an insight into the class and gender divisions of the previous era and the continuing inequalities of society.” She encourages women to form “power groups” to pool their resources in the way men do and seeks to incorporate women and Feminism into a North American style of capitalism. Wolf celebrates gun ownership among women as a sign of progress beyond victimhood. [Goodman. On the whole. the term refers to a series of campaigns for reforms on issues such as reproductive rights. [Goodman] Women’s Studies: They show a concern with the representation. equal pay. Naomi: the author of The Beauty Myth (1990) and Misconceptions (2001) devotes considerable attention to the social obstacles women face. who come to the text at different times. Women's Liberation. and from attitudes causing these. and cultural roles and achievements of women. Most contemporary authors have been influenced to some degree by the “feminist literary critical revolution”. rights and status of women. Shaw are expressed through the mouths of his characters. Encarta. Beasley] Women’s Literature: Literature concerning women. in different cultural contexts and for different reasons. As an example. [Encarta] . Her political programme is about individuals and criticizes what she calls “victim feminism” for saddling women with an “identity and powerlessness. the female perspective of Jane Eyre brings readers inside Jane’s world and encourages them to see things from Jane’s point of view. [Encarta. Gender is sometimes associated with attempts to excise the radical critique of Women’s Studies and with prescriptive demands that they must be accompanied by a matched emphasis on men. and other people. and sexual violence. or Women's Lib. in Pygmalion the political and social views of G. Beasley] Womyn: non-standard spelling of “women” adopted by some feminists in order to avoid the word ending –men.Writer/reader relationship: A relationship between author and reader can be established in the way that a text and its context bridge the gap between one person. Also. [Goodman] Wolf. A course of study examining the historical. maternity leave. [Beasley] “Women’s Liberation”: Also known as the Women's Movement. Unlike Gay Liberation thinkers. B. an author.

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