This collection of new feminist essays represents the work of young critics researching and teaching in British Universities. Aiming to set the agenda for feminist criticism in the nineties, the essays debate themes crucial to the development of feminist thought: among them, the problems of gendered knowledge and the implications of accounts of gendered language, cultural restraints on the representation of sexuality, women’s agency, cultural and political change, a feminist aesthetics and new readings of race and class. This variety is given coherence by a unity of aim – to forge new feminist discourses by addressing conceptual and cultural questions central to problems of gender and sexual difference.
The topics of discussion range from matrilinear thought to seventeenth-century prophecy; the poetry of Amelia Lanyer to Julia Margaret Cameron’s photographs; from Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf to eighteenth-century colonial painting of the South Pacific; from medieval romance to feminist epistemology. The essays utilise and question the disciplines of literary criticism, art history, photography, psychoanalysis, Marxist history and post-structuralist theory.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction Isobel Armstrong Part 1: Knowledges 2. Feminist Aesthetics and the New Realism Laura Marcus 3. Walking, Women and Writing: Virginia Woolf as flâneuse Rachel Bowlby 4. Happy Families? Feminist Reproduction and Matrilinear Thought Linda R Williams 5. An Other Space: A Future for Feminism Jane Moore Part 2: Subjectivities 6. Releasing Possibility into Form: Cultural Choice and the Woman Writer Carol Watts 7. Fakes and Femininity: Vita Sackville-West and her Mother Suzanne Raitt 8. The Dangers of Angela Carter Elaine Jordan Part 3: Languages 9. Love, Mourning and Metaphor: Terms of Identity Kadiatu Kanneh 10. Why the Lady’s Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun Lorna Hutson 11. Unsilent Instruments and the Devil’s Cushions: Authority in Seventeenth-century Women’s Prophetic Discourse Sue Wiseman Part 4: Representations 12. Getting down to Basics: Art, Obscenity and the Female Nude Lynda Nead 13. Do or Die: Problems of Agency and Gender in the Aesthetics of Murder Josephine McDonagh 14. The Politics of Focus: Feminism and Photography Theory Lindsay Smith 15. The Hand of the Huntress: Repetition and Malory’s Morte Darthur Catherine LaFarge Part 5: Others 16. New Hystericism: Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko: the Body, the Text and the Feminist Critic Ros Ballaster 17. The Great Distinction: Figures of the Exotic in the Work of William Hodges Harried Guest 18. ‘Because Men Made the Laws;: The Fallen Woman and the Woman Poet Angela Leighton
Isobel Armstrong is Emeritus Professor of English at Birkbeck, University of London.