What if the American literary canon were expanded to
consistently represent women writers, who do not always fit easily
into genres and periods established on the basis of men's writings?
How would the study of American literature benefit from this
long-needed revision? This timely collection of essays by fourteen
women writers breaks new ground in American literary study. Not
content to rediscover and awkwardly "fit" female writers into the
"white male" scheme of anthologies and college courses, editors
Margaret Dickie and Joyce W. Warren question the current boundaries
of literary periods, advocating a revised literary canon. The
essays consider a wide range of American women writers, including
Mary Rowlandson, Margaret Fuller, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Emily
Dickinson, Frances Harper, Edith Wharton, Gertrude Stein, Amy
Lowell and Adrienne Rich, discussing how the present classification
of these writers by periods affects our reading of their work.
Beyond the focus of feminist challenges to American literary
periodization, this volume also studies issues of a need for
literary reforms considering differences in race, ethnicity, class,
and sexuality. The essays are valuable and informative as
individual critical studies of specific writers and their works.
Challenging Boundaries presents intelligent, original,
well-written, and practical arguments in support of long-awaited
changes in American literary scholarship and is a milestone of
feminist literary study.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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