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This is the "Feminist Literature" page of the "Literature and English Research" guide.
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Last Updated: Nov 15, 2017 URL: http://libguides.warner.edu/literature Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Feminist Literature Print Page


  • Maya Angelou (1928 - ): Topic Page
    Maya Angelou is a prolific autobiographer, poet, and playwright, as well as an accomplished producer, director, actor, performer, and singer. The themes that emerge in her autobiography series are the struggle for civil rights in the United States and Africa, Angelou’s involvement with the feminist movement, her ongoing relationship with her son, and her awareness of the difficulties of living in the U.S. lower classes.
  • Simone de Beauvoir (1908 - 1986)
    From Encyclopedia of Women's Autobiography
    Best known as the author of the founding text of second-wave feminism, Le Deuxième Sexe (1949, [The Second Sex]), Simone de Beauvoir has been called the “emblematic intellectual woman of the twentieth century.”
  • Aphra Behn (1640 - 1689): Topic Page
    Behn is renowned not only for being the first woman in England to earn a living as a professional writer but also for her colourful life, which included a spell as a clandestine government agent.
  • Betty Friedan (1921-2006): Topic Page
    Writer and feminist leader; As a result of surveys of female college graduates, she came to identify certain problems that women were experiencing in their lives, and after several years of research she published The Feminine Mystique (1963), an exposé of the traditional roles assigned to women in modern industrial societies.
  • Margaret Fuller (1810 - 1850): Topic Page
    In 1845 the American feminist writer and journalist Margaret Fuller, an imposing and idiosyncratic intellectual figure in literary circles in New England, published an important early contribution to the history of American feminism.
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860 - 1935): Topic Page
    Although Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a notorious public figure in her day and despite a review article in the Journal of Political Economy (Hill, 1904), her work was neglected from her death in 1935 until her rediscovery in 1956 by historian Carl Degler, and has only recently become a focus of interest for feminist economists.
  • Dame Rebecca West (1892 - 1983): Topic Page
    From 1911 West became involved in women's suffrage campaigns and turned to journalism; throughout her life she continued to contribute to leading British and American periodicals, beginning with the feminist Freewoman (which her mother had forbidden her to read). She joined The Clarion the following year as a political writer and later reviewed novels for The New Statesman and contributed to The Daily Telegraph.
  • Mary Wollstonecraft (1759 - 1797): Topic Page
    Since her rediscovery by the women’s movement during the 1970s, Mary Wollstonecraft has been championed as the seminal voice in the long struggle for women’s emancipation in Britain. A courageous but at times deeply troubled and unhappy woman, she rebelled against the social strictures of her time, twice choosing to live openly with the man she loved.
  • Virginia Woolf (1882 - 1941): Topic Page
    In addition to her novels Virginia Woolf produced a great variety of other work – short stories, criticism, and biography – despite recurring bouts of depression, which had begun early in life after her mother's death. Her best critical essays are contained in The Common Reader (1925; second series, 1932). A Room of One's Own (1929) and Three Guineas (1938) are feminist classics.

Literary Works

  • A Room of One's Own
    From The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English
    An essay by Virginia Woolf based upon two papers read to the Arts Society at Newnham College and the Odtaa at Girton College, Cambridge, in October 1928. It has become a feminist classic.
  • Sexual Politics
    From A History of Feminist Literary Criticism
    Kate Millett innovatively linked the sexual or, as we would now say, ‘gender’, to questions of politics and power and, in so doing, coined a term, ‘sexual politics’, that became indispensable to future debates.
  • The Second Sex
    From A History of Feminist Literary Criticism
    Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1949) is one of the most famous and influential books of the twentieth century. It had a profound influence on the development of twentieth-century feminism.
  • Vindication on the Rights of Women
    From The Cambridge Guide to Women's Writing in English
    Addressing women as 'rational creatures', Mary Wollstonecraft's second Vindication is a devastating critique of middle-class femininity: of the 'false refinement' and 'over-exercised sensibility' of women educated only to 'marry advantageously'.
  • Woman in the Nineteenth Century
    From The Cambridge Guide to Women's Writing in English
    This dense and resonant exploration of women's unrealized potential was the culmination of Margaret Fuller's feminist insights.
  • The Yellow Wallpaper: Topic Page
    Charlotte Perkins Gilman's most celebrated and widely read short story is the tale of a depressed woman with a young baby who has been prescribed a period of social exclusion and mental inactivity, a 'rest cure' that precipitates the very collapse it was designed to avoid. The story has strong Gothic elements and a clear feminist message concerning the infantilizing and constriction of women within marriage.

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