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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read, 2 May 2011
By 
J. C. Chamberlain (Manchester, Cheshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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It starts out very defensive of the criticism Showalter has had, but once you move past that into the substance of the book it's very informative.

It's not the critical text she's quoted from most often (in the other texts I've read) as that is generally The Female Malady: Women, Madness and English Culture, 1830-1980 but it's a sound criticism of women writers and women characters in a male world, whether and where there's a difference in style, reception and expectations, and the relevance within female circles in history. It's a very interesting analysis of British novels written by women and it's clearly well researched and she uses many references to back up her points.

It's missing Aphra Behn, unfortunately, and a few other earlier British writers, but it does what it says on the tin: Bronte to Lessing.

It's a book of it's time (1977) and looks at the double standard in literary (and other) criticisms, but it does miss things from other perspectives for example race and class, but Showalter holds her hands up to this in this 2009 edition. So I've given it 5 stars for being great in it's own world, less 1 star for being slightly dated and not quite broad enough from a 2011 perspective.

Recommended for study and academic reasons but not really for general reading unless you're particularly interested in the authors it covers (Bronte, Woolf, Eliot, Austen, Drabble, Lessing etc).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars British Women Novelists from Bronte to Lessing, 7 May 2010
By 
Miss S. Bonnick "alternatives4women" (Cornwall, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Literature of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Bronte to Lessing (Paperback)
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- - Synopsis - -

A Literature of their Own.

British Women Novelists from Charlotte Bronte to Doris Lessing.

In this brilliant study of British women novelists, Elaine Showalter traces the development of their fiction from 1800s onwards.

This original, refreshing and sometimes controversial book not only includes assessments of famous writers such as the Brontes, George Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Margaret Drabble and Doris Lessing, but also presents critical appraisals of Mary Braddon, Rhoda Broughton and Sarah Grand - to name but a few of those prolific and successful Victorian novelists - once household names, now largely forgotten.

Examining the lives and work of women novelists presenting a invaluable record of the woman writer and the culture she has reflected from generation to generation.

The result is an invaluable record of generations of women writers and the way in which their work reflects the social changes of their time.

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