By Elaine Showalter
When first released in 1977, A Literature in their Own quick set the degree for the inventive explosion of feminist literary stories that reworked the sector within the Eighties. Launching an enormous new region for literary research, the publication exposed the lengthy yet missed culture of girls writers in England. A vintage of feminist feedback, its effect remains to be felt today.
This revised and accelerated variation features a new introductory bankruptcy surveying the book's reception and a brand new postscript bankruptcy celebrating the legacy of feminism and feminist feedback within the efflorescence of up to date British fiction by means of women.
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Extra resources for A Literature of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Brontë to Lessing
Jewsbury to Jane Welsh Carlyle, ed. Mrs. Alex Ireland, London, 1892, pp. 367-368. A similar phenomenon occurred in the United States, where "women were drawn to writing just when it became a possible business, and they were among the first to sense and develop its business potential" (Ann Douglas Wood, "The Literature of Impoverishment: The Women Local Colorists in America, 18651914," Women's Studies 1 : 7). 52 THE FEMININE NOVELISTS make a living somewhere. Thus the rejected young lady might be told to "darn her stockings," but one would say "less tenderly, to the male aspirant: 'You must earn some money, you say.
In a number of cases, women married late in life, after they had established a professional reputation and were able to earn a good market price for their books. Married women writers (such as Margaret Gatty, Emma Marshall, Isabella Banks, and Lucy Clifford) were frequently motivated to publish by their husbands' financial failure, illness, or death, and thus took on double burdens of support. The effects of such financial need can easily be traced in the toorapid production of competent, not-quite-realized fiction.
H. s. xl (1853): 18. 5 "The Sociology of Authorship," Bulletin of New York Public Library lxvi (1962): 392. , Los Angeles, 1968, quotes from 197 women novelists and 247 men novelists. These figures, of course, represent a selection rather than absolute numbers of men and women, but they certainly do not reflect the widely alleged "female dominance" of the 19th-century novel. ®"The Condition of Authors in England, Germany and France," Eraser's xxxv (1847): 285. For some other nervous jokes about female competition, see "A Gentle Hint to Writing-Women," Leader 1 (1850); 39 THE FEMININE NOVELISTS petition made male novelists overestimate the extent of the challenge; Wilkie Collins complained of being told that "out of every twelve novels or poems that are written, nine at least are by ladies.
A Literature of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Brontë to Lessing by Elaine Showalter