Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Maya Angelou (1928 - 2014): Topic
Maya Angelou is a prolific autobiographer, poet, and playwright, as well as an accomplished producer, director, actor, performer, and singer. The themes that emerge in her autobiography series are the struggle for civil rights in the United States and Africa, Angelou’s involvement with the feminist movement, her ongoing relationship with her son, and her awareness of the difficulties of living in the U.S. lower classes.
Aphra Behn (1640 - 1689): Topic
Behn is renowned not only for being the first woman in England to earn a living as a professional writer but also for her colourful life, which included a spell as a clandestine government agent.
Simone de Beauvoir (1908 - 1986): Topic
French writer, existentialist, and feminist whose works include The Second Sex (1949) and The Coming of Age (1970), a study of how different cultures view old age.
Betty Friedan (1921-2006): Topic
Writer and feminist leader; As a result of surveys of female college graduates, she came to identify certain problems that women were experiencing in their lives, and after several years of research she published The Feminine Mystique (1963), an exposé of the traditional roles assigned to women in modern industrial societies.
Margaret Fuller (1810 - 1850): Topic
In 1845 the American feminist writer and journalist Margaret Fuller, an imposing and idiosyncratic intellectual figure in literary circles in New England, published an important early contribution to the history of American feminism.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860 - 1935): Topic
Although Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a notorious public figure in her day and despite a review article in the Journal of Political Economy (Hill, 1904), her work was neglected from her death in 1935 until her rediscovery in 1956 by historian Carl Degler, and has only recently become a focus of interest for feminist economists.
Dame Rebecca West (1892 - 1983): Topic
From 1911 West became involved in women's suffrage campaigns and turned to journalism; throughout her life she continued to contribute to leading British and American periodicals, beginning with the feminist Freewoman (which her mother had forbidden her to read). She joined The Clarion the following year as a political writer and later reviewed novels for The New Statesman and contributed to The Daily Telegraph.
Mary Wollstonecraft (1759 - 1797): Topic
Since her rediscovery by the women’s movement during the 1970s, Mary Wollstonecraft has been championed as the seminal voice in the long struggle for women’s emancipation in Britain. A courageous but at times deeply troubled and unhappy woman, she rebelled against the social strictures of her time, twice choosing to live openly with the man she loved.
Virginia Woolf (1882 - 1941): Topic
In addition to her novels Virginia Woolf produced a great variety of other work – short stories, criticism, and biography – despite recurring bouts of depression, which had begun early in life after her mother's death. Her best critical essays are contained in The Common Reader (1925; second series, 1932). A Room of One's Own (1929) and Three Guineas (1938) are feminist classics.
A Room of One's Own
From Brewer's Curious Titles
A long essay by Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), published in 1929. The essay grew out of two lectures that Woolf had delivered to women students at Cambridge University the previous year, in which she addressed the difficulties that women writers had faced, and would continue to face, until they had the freedom and security of ‘ a room of one's own’ and ‘ five hundred a year’.
From A History of Feminist Literary Criticism
Kate Millett innovatively linked the sexual or, as we would now say, ‘gender’, to questions of politics and power and, in so doing, coined a term, ‘sexual politics’, that became indispensable to future debates.
The Second Sex
From A History of Feminist Literary Criticism
Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1949) is one of the most famous and influential books of the twentieth century. It had a profound influence on the development of twentieth-century feminism.
Vindication of the Rights of Woman
From Encyclopedia of Women and American Politics
Published in 1792, English feminist Mary Wollstonecraft argues that any weakness exhibited by women did not result from her biological sex but rather from her lack of education and isolated social position. Wollstonecraft declares that humanity is based on the acquisition of reason and virtue and that this acquisition is open to both men and women. Thus, woman is not weaker, but society has made her so in order to enhance men's own feelings of superiority. In this sense, men and women both lose virtue and reason in a system of enforced superiority. Wollstonecraft argues for the necessity of education for both males and females in coeducational facilities.
Woman in the Nineteenth Century
From Encyclopedia of American Literature
Published in 1845. Possibly the inaugural text of the women's rights movement in America, this is a large-scale defense of female intellectualism. Margaret Fuller's argument is that the gender divisions engrained in Western civilization deplete feminine and masculine vitality alike. Fuller's analysis of heroines in various mythologies, histories, and literatures provides positive alternative models of femininity. She ultimately proposes that woman's acuity can either relieve or reinforce her social repression.
The Yellow Wallpaper: Topic
Charlotte Perkins Gilman's most celebrated and widely read short story is the tale of a depressed woman with a young baby who has been prescribed a period of social exclusion and mental inactivity, a 'rest cure' that precipitates the very collapse it was designed to avoid. The story has strong Gothic elements and a clear feminist message concerning the infantilizing and constriction of women within marriage.