ERIC Number: ED311459
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989
Reference Count: N/A
Women, Wit, and Witchcraft: The Burden of Stereotypes. Working Paper No. 193.
This paper examines the negative stereotypes so long foisted on witty women and the move of contemporary witty women writers into a comic vision beyond the imposed connection of female wit to sly cleverness and witchcraft. To illustrate how the woman writer had to cope with a prejudice against and a fear of her wit, the paper considers three fictional cunning women: May, in Chaucer's "Merchant's Tale"; Scheherazade, in "The Arabian Nights"; and the goddess Diana, in a curious creation myth connected to the origin of witchcraft. The paper also explores the figure of the witch, an ominous figure lurking in the woman writer's psyche. The paper compares several women writers to witches in terms of wit with words, relationship to the community, and fear of persecution and ridicule. Twenty-six footnotes are included. (KEH)
Descriptors: Authors, Cultural Images, Females, Fiction, Humor, Literary Criticism, Literary Genres, Role Perception, Sex Stereotypes
Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, Wellesley, MA 02181 ($4.00).
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative; Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Wellesley Coll., MA. Center for Research on Women.