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Nina Auerbach: Feminists Fall Out

6 July 2000
Critical Condition: Feminism at the Turn of the Century 
by Susan Gubar.
Columbia, 237 pp., £16, February 2000, 0 231 11580 6
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... SusanGubar has kept the faith. Most of the ‘feminist critics’ of the late 1970s, myself included, have drifted away, though not away from feminism: feminist criticism, an exclusive academic sorority, was ...

Fifteen years on

Elaine Showalter

20 October 1994
No Man’s Land. Vol. III: Letters from the Front 
by Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar.
Yale, 476 pp., £25, October 1994, 0 300 05631 1
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... Fifteen years ago, having published their monumental study of 19th-century women writers, The Madwoman in the Attic, Sandra Gilbert, poet and professor at the University of California at Davis, and SusanGubar, professor at Indiana University, planned a sequel: a feminist history of women’s writing in the 20th century. At first, they expected to complete it in just a few years, but they soon faced ...
21 February 1980
Gya/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism 
by Mary Daly.
Women’s Press, 485 pp., £8.95, November 1980, 0 7043 2829 1
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The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the 19th Century 
by Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar.
Yale, 719 pp., £15.75, October 1980, 0 300 02286 7
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Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes 
by Margaret Dickie Uroff.
Illinois, 235 pp., £6.95, November 1980, 0 252 00734 4
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Women Writing and Writing about Women 
edited by Mary Jacobus.
Croom Helm, 201 pp., £9.50, October 1980, 0 85664 745 4
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... the constraining judicial sentence of masculine language, from which ‘we may inhale Despair’, and the germinating infection by which women may subvert the borrowed syntax of men. Gilbertson and Gubar study recurrent forms of female rebellion in the works of Mary Shelley, Charlotte and Emily Brontë, George Eliot, and Dickinson herself, centring on the symbol of Bertha Mason rampaging in the attic ...

Mother’s back

Lorna Sage: Feminists with Tenure

18 May 2000
What is a Woman? And Other Essays 
by Toril Moi.
Oxford, 517 pp., £25, October 1999, 9780198122425
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... Textual Politics by preaching post-structuralist demolition of the whole person, and dismissing American feminists as naive empiricists. ‘With friends like these, does feminism need enemies?’ SusanGubar asks with uncharacteristic bitterness in her new stock-taking book Critical Condition. Clearly Moi is unforgiven, even though she has partly recanted. For instance: she used to argue that ...

Fashionable Gore

Katherine Rundell: H. Rider Haggard

2 April 2014
King Solomon’s Mines 
by H. Rider Haggard.
Vintage, 337 pp., £7.99, May 2013, 978 0 09 958282 3
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by H. Rider Haggard.
Vintage, 317 pp., £8.99, May 2013, 978 0 09 958283 0
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... cupboard and whom the children both tortured and were haunted by. Read as an embodiment of Victorian neuroses and desires, She is a marvel. There are good feminist interpretations: Sandra Gilbert and SusanGubar connect the witch-goddess figure with the newly fierce debates over the rights of women in Victorian England, and the proliferation of semi-scientific studies of woman’s ‘true nature ...

Amor vincit Vinnie

Marilyn Butler

21 February 1985
Foreign Affairs 
by Alison Lurie.
Joseph, 291 pp., £8.95, January 1985, 0 7181 2516 9
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... a personality behind the facade. The cellar harbours a darker figure yet: the madwoman or sinister hag of Charlotte Brontë and Poe – or, according to the recent feminist work of Sandra Gilbert and SusanGubar, of women’s writing generally. Lurie incorporates this idea among her other symbolic and literary motifs, leaving them all in the sub-plot and, as it were, in quotation-marks. The nuanced and ...

If It Weren’t for Charlotte

Alice Spawls: The Brontës

16 November 2017
... and violated Adrianopolis’) but also unfamiliar, intriguing images: a mysterious woman in a darkened hallway, waiting for someone … She often wrote with her eyes closed, which Sandra Gilbert and SusanGubar use for their argument that she was ‘essentially a trance writer’. The debate about how ‘instinctive’ (therefore less impressive to some) her process was doesn’t seem to me to be the ...


Kevin Kopelson: Confessions of a Plagiarist

22 May 2008
... Maybe I’m smart enough. Maybe I’ll like college students – Yalies, at any rate.’ Maybe, moreover, I’d like writing something other than legal memoranda. From having read Sandra Gilbert and SusanGubar’s monumental The Madwoman in the Attic, I felt sufficiently ‘imbued with otherness’ to imagine myself doing for sexuality studies what these collaborators – and talk about walking ...

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