Cover image for Encyclopedia of feminist literature
Encyclopedia of feminist literature
Whitson, Kathy J.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
xi, 300 pages ; 27 cm
Format :


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PN471 .W455 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Many women writers have secured a solid place in the literary canon, while others have remained marginalized. This reference includes alphabetically arranged entries on roughly 70 women writers whose works are widely read in English, and on some 20 related topics. While some of the writers profiled are widely known, others have not yet received as much attention. And while most of the writers are from England and America, the volume also profiles Chilean, Brazilian, Indian, South African, Australian, French, and German authors. The writers selected are feminist, in that their works have challenged traditional gender roles, explored female oppression, or critiqued patriarchal social structures. In addition to providing biographical information, the entries include interpretative summaries of major works.

Each author entry includes biographical information, an extensive summary treatment of at least one of her works, an list of her other major works, cross-references to related entries, and a list of works for further reading. What distinguishes this encyclopedia from the many other volumes addressing feminist literature or literature by women is the interpretative summary in each entry. The volume closes with a list of works cited. Entries are clearly written and are accessible to high school students and undergraduates.

Author Notes

KATHY J. WHITSON is Professor of English at Eureka College. Her previous books include Native American Literatures: An Encyclopedia of Works, Characters, Authors, and Themes (1999).

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

As stated in the introduction, this volume is not meant to be an all-inclusive list of authors, literary terms, and genres. Instead, the purpose is to provide undergraduate, high-school, and general readers with an entry point to feminist literature. In her introduction, Whitson, a professor of English, tackles the "problematic term feminist0 " with a short history of the concept and finally defines it as the "call for the social, political and economic equality of women." The authors are predominantly American and British, but significant authors from elsewhere who have been published in English are included. All of the nearly 70 authors are creative writers and not theorists, selected because their works have challenged traditional gender roles, explored female oppression, or critiqued patriarchal social structures. Among them are Isabel Allende, Elizabeth Gaskell, Toni Morrison, Amy Tan, and Virginia Woolf. Each author entry includes biographical information, a thorough interpretative summary of at least one major work, a list of her other writings, internal cross-references, and a list of "References and Suggested Readings." The purpose of the summary section is to entice students and general readers to explore each author's works further. In addition to the author entries, there are 20 articles covering related topics such as Abolition, Marriage,0 and Pseudonyms.0 The volume closes with a list of all works cited. Although most of the women discussed here are covered extensively in other encyclopedias of literature, this is a handy introduction to some key feminist writers. Readable and accessible, Encyclopedia of Feminist Literature 0 is a worthwhile purchase for public, high-school, and undergraduate collections. --Lisa Johnston Copyright 2005 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Whitson (English, Eureka Coll.) identifies feminist literature through a number of themes, including women's oppression, challenging traditional gender roles, and advocating for social, political, and economic equality for women. The women authors included in this volume range from the very familiar-Toni Morrison and Virginia Woolf-to the less well-known-Judith Ortiz Cofer and Shirley Geok-Lin Lim. Nearly 70 writers are represented with an additional 22 "topic" entries on subjects ranging from abolition to the "woman question." Author entries include biographical information, major works, and an analysis of at least one work. Whitson hopes that this "interpretative summary" of the representative work will distinguish the volume from other titles addressing feminist literature and entice readership of the books. Bottom Line This volume would be more useful if the narrative explored the theme of women's oppression and quest for equality more fully and provided fewer details of plot. Further, more careful editing would have eliminated several redundant passages and improved clarity. Still, Whitson succeeds in bringing together a great deal of information from a variety of sources for audiences from high school to undergraduate. Recommended for high school and college libraries.-Kathryn R. Bartelt, Univ. of Evansville Libs., IN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Whitson profiles 69 feminist writers--authors who have addressed women's oppression, challenged traditional gender roles, and advocated women's social, political and economic equality in "imaginative" rather than theoretical ways. Many are widely recognized; others such as Katherine Burdekin or Paule Marshall are less familiar but reclaimed by feminist scholars. Highly selective, this introductory reference emphasizes British and American works written in English. Happily, however, Whitson also covers significant works from other countries--Australia, Brazil, Chile, France, Germany, India, South Africa--that have "had an important impact on feminist studies in America and other English-speaking countries." Author entries include biographical information, a bibliography, internal cross-references, and, in a feature that distinguishes this volume from similar resources, extensive summary interpretations of at least one major work, designed to "entice readership." A selection of 22 informative thematic entries, from "Abolition" and "Amazon" to "Spirituality," "Silence and Voice," and "Woman Question," draw from relevant writers and augment the usefulness of the volume. The book is intended for undergraduate, high school, and general readers. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Public and academic libraries. J. Ariel University of California, Irvine

Table of Contents

List Of Entriesp. vii
Introductionp. ix

p. 1

References and Suggested Readingsp. 3
References and Suggested Readingsp. 7
References and Suggested Readingsp. 13
References and Suggested Readingsp. 17
References and Suggested Readingsp. 20
References and Suggested Readingsp. 24

p. 33

References and Suggested Readingsp. 35
References and Suggested Readingsp. 44
References and Suggested Readingsp. 48

p. 56


p. 72

References and Suggested Readingsp. 78

p. 80


p. 82

References and Suggested Readingsp. 91
References and Suggested Readingsp. 95

p. 96

References and Suggested Readingsp. 105

p. 106

References and Suggested Readingsp. 116
References and Suggested Readingsp. 123

p. 124


p. 125


p. 132


p. 140

References and Suggested Readingsp. 144
References and Suggested Readingsp. 146

p. 150

References and Suggested Readingsp. 176

p. 177

References and Suggested Readingsp. 186

p. 187


p. 193

References and Suggested Readingsp. 201
References and Suggested Readingsp. 205

p. 206

References and Suggested Readingsp. 207
References and Suggested Readingsp. 212

p. 213

References and Suggested Readingsp. 220
References and Suggested Readingsp. 221
References and Suggested Readingsp. 226
References and Suggested Readingsp. 232
References and Suggested Readingsp. 243

p. 244

References and Suggested Readingsp. 249
References and Suggested Readingsp. 250

p. 251

References and Suggested Readingsp. 256
References and Suggested Readingsp. 284

p. 285

Indexp. 293
About the Authorp. 301