In a second volume of literary criticism published by the Bodley Head in 1899 ,
We Women and Our Authors , Laura Marholm would title one of her chapters “
The Women - Haters , Tolstoy and Strindberg ” and would devote much of her ...
Author: Margaret Diane Stetz
Publisher: Ashgate Pub Limited
British Women's Comic Fiction, 1890-1990: Not Drowning, But Laughing focuses upon women who have not merely produced comic texts, but used their comedies to examine laughter itself as a problematic issue. Whether to embrace laughter wholeheartedly, whether to do so in a cautious and limited manner, or whether to forswear it entirely-women's opinions and, indeed, feminists' opinions have seldom been in accord on an answer. For women writers of the past century, a century of activism, laughter has been something to be weighed carefully in terms of its ethical, political, and pragmatic relationship to feminist values, as well as its ability or inability to help women survive.This study begins in the 1890s, when the word feminism first appeared in Britain and the white, middle-class New Woman of the period met with public antagonism in the guise of jokes. It concludes in the 1980s, when British feminism remade itself as a newly diverse movement-especially in matters of race, class, and sexual orientation-composed of communities that used laughter for different ends. Along the way, it demonstrates that, throughout the twentieth century, some of the most significant debates about British women's lives, roles, and identities occurred around and through the issue of comedy.Rather than offering an exhaustive survey of all comic fiction produced by women over the past 100 years, Margaret D. Stetz's book examines a few texts in depth, especially those that have been excluded from the usual canon. It argues for the importance of reading little-known, lost, or undervalued works by women, and for seeing these so-called minor texts as shedding light on major questions, including how female writers have found ways to reshape genres traditionally reserved for or defined by men. Among the figures discussed are late-Victorian feminists and their modern British successors, ranging from Dame Rebecca West to the Jewish novelist, Anita Brookner, to the Bombay-born lesbian fantasist, Suniti Namjoshi. This volume constitutes a major contribution to the field of Women's Studies, as well as to the history of British literature and to the cultural study of comedy.