Literary Approach - Feminist Criticism

The Norton Introduction to Poetry
Editor: J. Paul Hunter, University of Chicago
(Norton & Company, 1999)

The Norton Introduction to Poetry: Feminist Criticism

University of Chicago professor emeritus J. Paul Hunter defines critical approaches to evaluating poetry and prose in this excellent text published by Norton & Company. The book is now in its ninth edition with contributing editors Alison Booth, University of Virginia, and Kelly J. Mays, University of Nevada.

“Feminist criticism derives from firm political and ideological commitments and insists that literature both reflects and influences human behavior in the larger world. Feminist thought endeavors both to extend contemporary attention to distinctively female concerns, ideas, and accomplishments and to recover the largely unrecorded and unknown history of women in earlier times.”

A feminist perspective is unique, but the detachment of a woman's interests from the mainstream can be limiting. The implication that female concerns belong in a distinct academic sphere restrains the long-term progression toward equality. Steeped in centuries of cultural and religious indoctrination, feminist studies reinforce the belief that a woman's world remains separated from a man's domain.