I'm just remembering a friend from art school who happened to be a woman... and black. She adamantly refused to show in any exhibition of "women-artists" or "black-artists" because she felt these virtually suggested that the work of women or black artists was somehow of lesser merit and not worthy of inclusion in a show simply of "artists".
Has anybody mentioned Joan Didion? I haven't read any of her fiction, but she's a terrific essayist.
Seriously, it just gets more farcical. Luckily, it is also a very American thing. Probably because certain groups generally get mistreated in the US until they fight for the right to be treated normally.
Women are a different issue though - there was some idea that one could unearth female writers they way one can unearth Ancient Mesopotamia, by digging in archives.
This then expands to a "tradition" of women writing, apart from "male" writing. I doubt that holds, but some have made arguments, and there are many great instances where authors who were female took things from other authors of the same gender. However, there are just as many contrary examples, and examples of women being critical of other women's work as well as being inspired by "male" work.
Generally, the best arguments were, if you study literature, you can exchange Austen in place of Scott, Wharton in place of James, Cather in place of Fitzgerlad, Eliot in place of Dickens, and Dickinson in place of Whitman. Generally that is a pretty sound argument - all the authors mentioned are noteworthy and excellent, and one would not be "suffering" from looking at the other ones.
But the other camp can look at the situation and say, "yes, but weren't we misogynist, and didn't we not allow women a place? how then, if we go back more, can we compare the privaledged, education writing of Shakespeare to...?"
That argument seems to hold in most places. In other instances, you could go to Canadian literature and realize the bulk of the "greats" tend to be women (perhaps an isolated example. Also, you can look at genres, and see that the novel has a strong tradition of female writing, whereas drama until recently (and drama has been a dying form recently) has been essentially male.
You can also go further, and say, "The canon is just an idea, and who wants to fight over who makes the list anyway. Lets just do research and forget about "reshaping the canon" and just get writing on what we find meaningful and artistically relevant published."
The last camp seems to do good things - but of course, feminist theory has in itself been limited, limiting, and lacking.
Still, there have been, and still are fantastic female authors. It really doesn't take singling out based on gender though to realize that.
The discourse has been swallowing itself up recently, and Gender Studies has begun to replace it I guess, so this talk of gender will eventually die out, I wager, as people realize women are reading and writing more than men these days, and there is a dominance in popular form of women writing for women anyway.
In truth, I wrote an essay comparing the treatment of women as an essentialist separate category to other "race-art" and racial history. Generally the remedy for the whole thing is to think of yourself as reading "literature" rather than "women's literature," the same way when one reads Dante they are reading Dante, not "that Florentine literature". I don't see the Norton anthology of Men's verse anyway. Things will get better when someone can read a poem by Li Qingzhao side by side one by Ben Jonson, and compare them without only calling them different.
Last edited by JBI; 06-29-2010 at 04:20 PM.
Only woman author i liked reading is Penelope Delta, and of her just a collection of stories. But one of those stories i regard as a masterpiece
I do not want to read female writers because I'm looking for feminist ideas or whatever, I am merely asking for good female writers since I have read so little of them - nearly all of my favourite books are written by males.
I just want to broaden my view away from male writers, and read some great works by females artists. I know that may sound slightly fuzzy and contradictory, but I guess I know what I'm on about.
You're not on another book site are you? I swear I've answered this question earlier last week...
Well as for Virginia Woolf I remember reading her when I was in middle school and I didn't want to shoot my brains out so she's fine in my book. So there's Harriet Beecher Stowe, Charlotte Bronte (didn't really like her sister...), Mary Shelley, George Eliot, Margaret Atwood, Maya Angelou, Kate Chopin, Shirley Jackson (really liked "The Lottery"), Ursula LeGuin, Bobbie Ann Mason (who doesn't love dogs?), and Alice Walker. Most are repeats from previous posts but I thought I'd show how good they are.
I'm pretty sure I've left some out, but that's all I remember. I hope you find a few you like.
Oops! Forgot to include A.S.Byatt. Unforgivable.
My question would be, how is women's writing different from men's writing. Ironically on the original runs of the Bronte sisters, the reviewers assumed they were male authors, which seems to suggest a sort of lacking in intrinsic quality of "female".
I don't mean to spit on a tradition, but ultimately, that view is so 1970s and 80s - now I think the whole idea of "Women's" writing is looked at suspiciously, as all essentialist categories are looked at skeptically, at least by modern theorists/critics.
Ecriture Feminine had more detractors amongst women than men anyway - it seems that a great deal of the backlash doesn't come from a Patriarchal rejection of women's writing, but rather, a feminist and post-feminist rejection of the labeling woman, as somehow intrinsically different, and inherent in the work. The late poet P. K. Page, for instance, was known as referring to herself as a "feminist but not feminist poet." This, as an action denies the categorical in interpretation, and lends a degree of freedom and liberty to the work as not being chained down to a set of tropes/a tradition.
We are not discussing feminist literature here but simply an author being female.
I think that assumption based on the fact that there were more male (successful and established) authors at the time.My question would be, how is women's writing different from men's writing. Ironically on the original runs of the Bronte sisters, the reviewers assumed they were male authors, which seems to suggest a sort of lacking in intrinsic quality of "female".Care to explain this in simpler terms for those of us who are not as academically well-endowed as you are?Ecriture Feminine had more detractors amongst women than men anyway - it seems that a great deal of the backlash doesn't come from a Patriarchal rejection of women's writing, but rather, a feminist and post-feminist rejection of the labeling woman, as somehow intrinsically different, and inherent in the work. The late poet P. K. Page, for instance, was known as referring to herself as a "feminist but not feminist poet." This, as an action denies the categorical in interpretation, and lends a degree of freedom and liberty to the work as not being chained down to a set of tropes/a tradition.
I could barely stop myself from saying "Say what?"