Well, it’s that time of my undergraduate career. It’s time for my senior thesis project. Well, not immediately—I’m a junior for a few days yet!—but I will be spending May buried under Jane Eyre, academic texts on Jane Eyre, and books derived from Jane Eyre. One text in particular that is on my reading list for this project is already on my reading list. Today’s selections even share an author, goodness.
The Madwoman in the Attic by Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar
This pathbreaking book of feminist criticism is now reissued with a substantial new introduction by Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar that reveals the origins of their revolutionary realization in the 1970s that “the personal was the political, the sexual was the textual.”
Oh, come on, I’m an English Literature major at a women’s college. I probably got this recommendation just by looking at one of my professors. It’s a classic for a reason, folks.
Susan Henricks at metapsychology online reviews found it thoughtful, pointing out that it deals with history more than you might expect from literary criticism; Joseph LaGraffe at We Other Victorians has found it incredibly useful.
The Madwoman in the Attic was published in 1979.
Rereading Women by Sandra Gilbert
“We think back through our mothers if we are women,” wrote Virginia Woolf. In this groundbreaking series of essays, Sandra M. Gilbert explores how our literary mothers have influenced us in our writing and in life. She considers the effects of these literary mothers by examining her own history and the work of such luminaries as Charlotte Brontë, Emily Dickinson, and Sylvia Plath. In the course of the book, she charts her own development as a feminist, demonstrates ways of understanding the dynamics of gender and genre, and traces the redefinitions of maternity reflected in texts by authors such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning and George Eliot.
Throughout, Gilbert asks major questions about feminism in the twentieth century: Why and how did its ideas become so necessary to women in the sixties and seventies? What have those feminist concepts come to mean in the new century? And above all, how have our intellectual mothers shaped our thoughts today?
I have this listed as Ana’s fault, but there’s no review up over at things mean a lot. Mysterious! There’s nothing quite like hindsight, of course, and I think this would be fascinating to read after The Madwoman in the Attic. And hey, it would probably be useful for my paper. Ha!
Rereading Women was published on May 2, 2011.