Chapter 32. Feminisms and Literatures

  1. Paul Lauter president
  1. Deborah S. Rosenfelt Professor Director

Published Online: 16 MAR 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444320626.ch32

A Companion to American Literature and Culture

A Companion to American Literature and Culture

How to Cite

Rosenfelt, D. S. (2010) Feminisms and Literatures, in A Companion to American Literature and Culture (ed P. Lauter), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444320626.ch32

Editor Information

  1. Trinity College (Hartford), UK

Author Information

  1. University of Maryland, College Park, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 MAR 2010
  2. Published Print: 26 MAR 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780631208921

Online ISBN: 9781444320626



  • feminisms and literatures;
  • Virginia Woolf's - “women and fiction remain, so far as I am concerned, unsolved problems”;
  • multiciplicity of feminisms, genres, and identities shaping and inscribed in US literature in second half of twentieth century;
  • early participation in Modern Language Association's Commission on the Status of Women - affiliation with MLA's Radical Caucus;
  • continuities, disruptions, and foreshadowings - traditions of protest and new structures of feeling;
  • Florence Howe's and Ellen Bass's No More Masks! and Louise Bernikow's The World Split Open;
  • Plath's novel The Bell Jar (1963), injecting a note of sardonic humor and self-awareness into the story of Esther Greenwood's breakdown and recovery;
  • dynamics of change, institutions and personal-social narratives;
  • “A Whole New Poetry Beginning Here” - feminism, poetry and politics;
  • Utopian dreams, dystopian nightmares, Cyborg fantasies, vampire desires - Gilman, in her eugenicist Herland


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Continuities, Disruptions, and Foreshadowings: Traditions of Protest and New Structures of Feeling

  • Dynamics of Change: Institutions and Personal-Social Narratives

  • “A Whole New Poetry Beginning Here”: Feminism, Poetry, and Politics

  • (Re)writing History: Ad/dressing the Racial Wounds of the Body Politic

  • Utopian Dreams, Dystopian Nightmares, Cyborg Fantasies, Vampire Desires

  • Writing in the Borderlands: Globalization and Transnational Feminisms

  • Notes

  • References and Further Reading