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Saturday, January 07, 2006

How Rediscovering the Brontës Changed the World

In today's edition of the Sunday Herald (tomorrow is already 'today' in some parts of the world!) this article, 'Victim's No More' by C Vimala Rao discusses the women’s literary movement, which she says led to a metamorphosis in present day society.

There are two ways in which she says feminist literary critics 'build up their critical voice'. The first is to reinterpret male authors and unearth their biases about women, and the second is to recover works by female authors, previously shunned by the predominantly male canon. One of the texts involved in this revolutionary process is Jane Eyre:

As regards their second strategy of resurrecting and rediscovering the neglected women writers, Susan Gubar and Sandra Gilbert in their two seminal works titled— No man's Land: the Place of Women writers in the Twentieth Century, and The Mad Woman in the Attic, have analysed and interpreted novels like Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Frankenstein, etc, from a feminist critical point of view. They have also edited the Norton Anthology of Women's Writing which is a comprehensive work containing the writings of women from early times to the present in a broadly representative selection. By such efforts they have attempted to regain a literary tradition and history for women's writing.

Her conclusion?

Thus feminist literary critics at present have demanded re-thinking on the problems of form, genre, textual canon, linguistic usages, and literary and critical values and judgements. The women's movement has metamorphosed present-day society and it now necessitates readjustments on the part of not only women but also men.

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