By Betsy Erkkila

ISBN-10: 019507212X

ISBN-13: 9780195072129

ISBN-10: 1423764609

ISBN-13: 9781423764601

This provocative research of the lives and works of Emily Dickinson, Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, Adrienne wealthy, and Gwendolyn Brooks makes a speciality of the historic struggles and transformations between and inside ladies writers and between feminists themselves. Erkkila explores the stricken kin girls writers skilled with either masculine and female literary cultures, arguing that well known feminist perspectives frequently romanticize and maternalize girls writers and their interrelations in ways in which successfully toughen the very gender stereotypes and polarities which before everything grounded women's oppression. learning the a number of race, category, ethnic, cultural, and different destinations of girls inside of a selected social box, Erkkila bargains a revisionary version of women's literary historical past that demanding situations contemporary feminist conception and perform in addition to lots of our primary assumptions in regards to the girl author, women's writing, and women's literary heritage. unlike the tendency of previous feminists to heroize literary foremothers and groups of ladies, Erkkila makes a speciality of the historic struggles and conflicts that make up the historical past of ladies poets. with no discounting the old energy of sisterhood, she seeks to reclaim women's literary background as a domain of competition, contingency, and ongoing fight, instead of a separate house of untroubled and primarily cooperative accord between ladies. Encompassing many of the old significations of "wickedness" as damaging, robust, playful, witty, mischievous, and never righteous, The depraved Sisters explores the facility struggles and discord that mark either the heritage of ladies poets and the historical past of feminist feedback.

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Additional info for The Wicked Sisters: Women Poets, Literary History, and Discord

Sample text

In Sewall 153). Emily Dickinson and the Wicked Sisters 19 There was nothing particularly neurotic or abnormal about Dickinson's intense relationships with her women friends. Within the sexually polarized world of nineteenth-century America, intensely passionate, and sometimes even physical, relationships between women were common. In Maternal Counsels to a Daughter (1855), Matilda Pullan comments on the importance of female friendship in a girl's life: "Perhaps not even the acceptance of a love is a more important era in the life of a young girl than her first serious choice of a friend" (qtd.

Defining herself against the conventionally Christian, benevolent, and true womanly lives chosen by her friends, at times Dickinson could be openly mocking, even hostile: "I presume you are loving your mother, and loving the stranger, and wanderer, visiting the poor, and afflicted, and reaping whole fields of blessings," she wrote to Abiah Root in one of their last exchanges (Letters 1: 99). Even in her relatively untroubled relationship with Elizabeth Holland, Dickinson made it clear that Holland's choices—husband, marriage, motherhood, and what she called her "sunshiny" God—were not her own.

Daguerreotype of Emily Dickinson taken at Mt. Holyoke in December 1847 or early 1848. "I dont wonder that good angels weep—and bad ones sing songs," Dickinson wrote to her friend Jane Humphrey in 1850. (Courtesy of Amherst College Library) God. 3 Not only was Jane Eyre "poor, obscure, plain, and little" (Bronte 222) in contrast with more classic heroines like Austen's Emma, who was "handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition" (Austen 1). In the eyes of the contemporary reviewer Elizabeth Rigby, 22 The Wicked Sisters Jane Eyre was also a "heathen mind" in an "anti-Christian composition" that threatened the overthrow of "authority and violated every code human and divine" (Bronte 451, 452).

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The Wicked Sisters: Women Poets, Literary History, and Discord by Betsy Erkkila


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