Peter Barry
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Feminist criticism
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The feminist literary criticism of today is the direct product of the 'women's movement' of the 1960s. In feminist criticism in the 1970s the major effort went into exposing what might be called the mechanisms of patriarchy, that is, the cultural 'mind-set' in men and women which perpetuated sexual inequality. This chapter looks at three particular areas on which debates and disagreements have centred on about feminist criticism: the role of theory; the nature of language; and the value or otherwise of psychoanalysis. It includes a STOP and THINK section to help readers ponder over anti-essentialism which has for some years now been a dominant concept in critical theory. The chapter describes some critical activities of feminist critics and presents an example of feminist criticism by taking the account of Wuthering Heights by Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, from their book The Madwoman in the Attic.

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Beginning theory (fourth edition)

An introduction to literary and cultural theory


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