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Main page » Non-Fiction » Science literature » Literature Studies » Gilbert and Gubar's the Madwoman in the Attic After Thirty Years

Gilbert and Gubar's the Madwoman in the Attic After Thirty Years


When it was published in 1979, Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar's "The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination" was hailed as a path-breaking work of criticism, changing the way future scholars would read Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, the Brontes, George Eliot, and Emily Dickinson. This thirtieth-anniversary collection adds both valuable reassessments and new readings and analyses inspired by Gilbert and Gubar's approach. It includes work by established and up-and-coming scholars, as well as retrospective accounts of the ways in which "The Madwoman in the Attic" has influenced teaching, feminist activism, and the lives of women in academia. These contributions represent both the diversity of today's feminist criticism and the tremendous expansion of the nineteenth-century canon. The authors take as their subjects specific nineteenth- and twentieth-century women writers, the state of feminist theory and pedagogy, genre studies, film, race, and postcolonialism, with approaches ranging from eco-feminism to psychoanalysis. And although each essay opens "Madwoman" to a different page, all provocatively circle back - with admiration and respect, objections and challenges, questions and arguments - to Gilbert and Gubar's groundbreaking work. The essays are as diverse as they are provocative. Susan Fraiman describes how "Madwoman" opened the canon, politicized critical practice, and challenged compulsory heterosexuality, while Marlene Tromp tells how it embodied many concerns central to second-wave feminism. Other chapters consider "Madwoman"'s impact on Milton studies and on cinematic adaptations of "Wuthering Heights". In the thirty years since its publication, "The Madwoman in the Attic" has potently informed literary criticism of women's writing: its strategic analyses of canonical works and its insights into the interconnections between social environment and human creativity have been absorbed by contemporary critical practices. These essays constitute substantive interventions into established debates and ongoing questions among scholars concerned with defining third-wave feminism, showing that, as a feminist symbol, the raging madwoman still has the power to disrupt conventional ideas about gender, myth, sexuality, and the literary imagination.

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Tags: Gubar, Gilbert, Attic, Madwoman, thirtieth