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The Critical PulseThirty-Six Credos by Contemporary Critics$
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Jeffrey Williams and Heather Steffen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231161152

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231161152.001.0001

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Why I’m Still Writing Women’s Literary History

Why I’m Still Writing Women’s Literary History

(p.217) 30 Why I’m Still Writing Women’s Literary History
The Critical Pulse

Devoney Looser

Columbia University Press

This chapter presents the author's call for both the conservative value of literary history and a renewed attention to women's literature. She says that despite profound changes in the past several decades in literary and cultural studies scholarship, we still do not know a lot of basic facts—the life circumstances of women writers, what they wrote, what they published, and how their works were read and received. Give our awareness of emergent identity issues of class/race/sexuality/nation/age, we must now make sense of formerly unknown and unread female authors and their texts in multivalent ways. Instead of discovering in those writings hidden feminist messages, instead of ignoring or downplaying antifeminist statements, we must describe their complexities, contradictions, and contours.

Keywords:   women's writings, women's literary history, women's literature, feminism

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