ERIC Number: ED239303
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Jun
Reference Count: 0
Paradigm Shifts in the Study of Literature.
The current literary tradition observes a canon of hierarchies, a ranking of great writers and genres, that tends to exclude or downgrade women and lower caste males. The response of feminist scholars to this state of affairs falls into two general categories: the first is to find great women authors to fit into the canon on its own terms; the second is to question the value of the canon itself. Feminist art and literary critics have begun to dismantle the notion that a work of art is autonomous, favoring instead a theory of social context and of alternative and equally valid codes of merit. Another feminist approach uses the reader-response theory, which states that the reader's perception of a text will be determined by his or her social background and status. Finally, feminist critics are engaged in the process of constructing alternative canons. While this process has inherent dangers, women are doing valuable work on developing cases to cope with, subvert, adopt, or adapt to their own uses the dominant male genres. As these codes and patterns become clearer, the value of works by women and the justification for including them in the general curriculum become more apparent. Still needed, however, is more study of the ways in which women have, in their turn, affected the male literary tradition. (HTH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Feminist Criticism; Womens Literature
Note: Paper presented at the National Women's Studies Association Conference (Columbus, OH, June 26-30, 1983).