ERIC Number: ED245959
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1983
Reference Count: N/A
Treason Our Text: Feminist Challenges to the Literary Canon. Working Paper No. 104.
Robinson, Lillian S.
Designed to make readers more aware of the systematic neglect of women's experience in the traditional literary canon, the paper presents feminist alternatives to the male-dominated canon, an assessment of their impact on the standard canon, and a proposal for new directions for further work. Two suggested approaches for feminist criticism are (1) emphasizing alternative readings that reinterpret women's character, motivations, and actions and that identify and challenge sexist ideology; and/or (2) concentrating on gaining admission to the literary canon for women writers. Nina Baym's introduction to a study of American women's fiction between 1820 and 1870 is presented, the viewpoints of feminist scholars such as Patricia Meyer Spacks, Louise Bernikow, Ellen Moers, Nina Auerbach, and Judith Lowder Newton are discussed and criticisms raised by black and lesbian feminist scholars are noted. A discussion of the fundamentally elite nature of the existing canon is followed by a word about the increasing acceptance being given to women's letters, diaries, journals, autobiographies, oral histories, private poetry, and popular women's literature. The document concludes that feminist alternatives must continue to be pursued--not so as to label and dismiss even the most sexist literary classics, but to apprehend them in all their human dimensions. (LH)
Descriptors: Authors, Feminism, Higher Education, Literary Criticism, Literary History, Literature, Sex Bias, Sex Fairness, Womens Education, Womens Studies
Center for Research on Women, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA 02181 ($3.50).
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: Wellesley Coll., MA. Center for Research on Women.