By Elaine Showalter
When first released in 1977, A Literature in their Own fast set the degree for the inventive explosion of feminist literary reviews that remodeled the sector within the Nineteen Eighties. Launching a huge new zone for literary research, the booklet exposed the lengthy yet ignored culture of girls writers in England. A vintage of feminist feedback, its effect remains to be felt today.
This revised and extended variation features a new introductory bankruptcy surveying the book's reception and a brand new postscript bankruptcy celebrating the legacy of feminism and feminist feedback within the efflorescence of up to date British fiction by way of women.
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Extra info for A Literature of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Brontë to Lessing
13 Gordon S. Haight, George Eliot: A Biography, New York, 1968, P- 195• 43 THE FEMININE NOVELISTS recognized this danger, as the figure of Casaubon shows, but she could not help overcompensating in a book like Romola; in fact, Romola's dedication to the preservation of her father's library is a paradigm of the feminine novelist's veneration of male culture. Other women novelists, too, felt compelled to bury themselves in research as a defense against accusations of ignorance. Eliza Lynn Linton, for example, never quite recovered from a sense of intellectual deprivation.
2 If we go beyond the women who actually managed to publish something, to the number who completed a novel but coidd not get it accepted, the problem assumes mammoth proportions. Readers' reports for large publishing houses like Bentley and Macmillan show that a consistently high percentage of rejected manuscripts came from women. Similarly, John Murray recalled with some amusement the "lady-authoresses" who began to besiege him about 1869, including "M. "3 For every novel in print there may have been half-a-dozen mute inglorious Brontes.
Male novelists like Thackeray, who came from an elite class, also felt uncomfortable with the aggressive self-promotion of the novelist's career. As Donald Stone points out: Thackeray's ambivalent feelings towards Becky Sharp indicate the degree to which he attempted to suppress or 23 THE FEMALE TRADITION make light of his own literary talents. The energies which make her (for a time) a social success are akin to those which made him a creative artist. In the hands of a major woman novelist, like Jane Austen or George Eliot, the destructive moral and social implications of Becky's behavior would have been defined more clearly and more urgently.
A Literature of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Brontë to Lessing by Elaine Showalter