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This book by Gilbert and Gubar was groundbreaking literary criticism when it was first published, and paved the way for an explosion in feminist literary criticism that allowed much existing work to be re-evaluated and enriched by what women had to say
I recently re-read this work, and have to say that some of it is now dated, and the enormous preface to the recent edition does not really add anything to the main body of text, although it does go some way to setting the scene for the research. It seems dated because what Gilbert and Gubar once fought for is now taken for granted by so many, which just shows the success of their achievements.
The majority of the work on the 19th Century novels themselves, particularly the work of Charlotte Bronte is invaluable and always enriching and interesting. Nobody should be able to read these novels without reading these essays because they just make so much sense. The central tenet about the writer and their ability to express the unexpressible aspects of themselves through their literary creations and in particular the character of Bertha Mason from Jane Eyre, is still breathtaking and brilliant. A must read for any serious students of nineteenth century literature.
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on 25 March 2017
It is a very interesting book, however, it only looks at a limited selection of books. Still very interesting, though you might want to see which books are mentioned before you buy.
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on 26 May 2001
This is the sort of criticism that expands your impression of literature. The authors cast a fresh light on classic women's writing - Austen, the Brontes, etc - by examining how a woman writer's self-perception is shaped by patriarchy and a mysoginistic tradition, and that the anxiety caused by being 'unfeminine' can be found within the writing. It's also well written enough to be read for fun.
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on 8 November 2013
Gilbert & Gubar have written an absolutely fantastic book here. There are a few separate sections, two of which are specifically focused on Frankenstein and Jane Eyre. The very appropriate title is aimed at Jane Eyre and what the authors do here is analyse these texts based on feminist trends and the treatment of insanity in these novels. It is very insightful and provides an eye for detail to the texts. Unlike most critical books like this, this is actually an enjoyable read. Fantastic, very happy with the purchase.
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on 17 March 2015
A really informative look at feminist characters in fiction. I was using it to particularly focus on Bertha Mason from Jane Eyre, but it references a good range of female characters from many authors. It's quite lengthy, but if you're focusing on a particular topic area there's a useful index at the back to direct you to pages focusing on certain topics. Although it's quite dated now, it remains very relevant. Also references other critics to give you different views/interpretations, which helps when looking for other sources and research.
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on 30 September 2016
WOW! So helpful in my studies for A-Level English Literature. I got an A* because of this book! Truly! It went into far greater depth of literary criticism than I was accustomed to, and this was to my great benefit. The chapter on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was so interesting and provided me with so much material to discuss in my exam.
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on 1 September 2016
I am interested in Mary Elizabeth Braddon . Unfortunately to the authors of this book her well-known book Lady Audley's Secret is mixed together with a novel by Louisa May Alcott merely comment that
the exceptional insight ,with resultant duplicity of a veiled lady, becomes a strategy for survival in a hostile male-dominated world.
Unfortunately the authors have missed the point of Braddon's book.
The point of Braddon's novel is that women died in childbirth so wealthy men living outside of London looked around for a second wife who was attractive and a marriage was arranged between the young pretty woman and the wealthy widower. Braddon stokes up the flames of suspense by
bringing in the younger brother of the widower who did not get the title and land on the death of the father .and decides to destroy the potential for
happiness of his older brother. It's not a question of male hostility but a demonstration of how an archaic legal system worked so cruelly against both men and women because younger sons became bitter and expressed their frustration
The authors go over the Austen books as academic works which no doubt were easily accessible to the hundreds of their students. Unfortunately people are reading Austen as if she was the Bible trying to uncover some deeper message that Austen they assume that Austen wished to convey about women in late eighteenth century Southern England.Austen wrote novels because she realised that she needed some form of income as an independent woman because the man she wanted to marry was Irish and would have not been acceptable in the society in which she mixed.
This is why she develops Lydia as the really pretty daughter in Pride and Prejudice and who receives the attention of the handsome young man in a military uniform. Austen has to discredit him in order to satisfy the feelings of the older mothers who read her novels as the novels were passed around the females of the house including the female servants so it was more acceptable to have the wealthy Darcy as the hero.
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on 29 July 2015
See previous Reviews on novels of this type (eg 'Jane Eyre')
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on 23 November 2012
The item came quickly with good packaging. The book is essential reading, especially for those studying english at uni. Highly detailed and interesting, the quality of the content extends throughout the great variety of authors, novels and characters. The focus on psychoanalytic and feminist approach is rewarding and fascinating. Would highly recommend this book for people who read a great deal of classic literature, anyone particularly focused on feminism and those studying english. However, despite being a big read it is engrossing so I would recommend it to many. Great book, will probably read it/ refer back to it many a time.
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on 9 January 2016
Essential reading for any literature student!
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