Feminist Literary Criticism – what do you do?


I’ve been doing a lot of literary criticism this year – so far I have written 3 papers which have explored literature using elements of feminist literary criticism. The texts I’ve looked at include:

  • one of the short stories from Margo Lanagan’s Red Spikes, which was pretty clearly a rape narrative
  • the Deborah Ellis book, Parvana’s Journey, which I thought I would love but after finishing the critique I ended up being very disappointed in
  • three versions of the Persephone myth (including the version from Ovid’s Metamorphoses)

When I’m doing a feminist critique I am theorising using ideas about the following:

  • subjectivity
  • agency
  • voice (parler femme)
  • women’s writing (ecriture feminine)
  • the body
  • desire
  • affect
  • performativity
  • archetypes (tropes?) – i.e. the madwoman in the attic

I kind of blend these together to make an argument even if the theorists and theories have points of contestation. Sometimes I think this is a great approach and uses the best of contemporary theory but sometimes I wonder, especially when two theorists seem at odds with each other. So what do others do? I’d love to know.

2 thoughts on “Feminist Literary Criticism – what do you do?

  1. Trish!!!! Laugh… I’ll convert you one of these days. But, maybe I won’t call it feminist criticism, I’ll call it theories about the body or theories about sexuality. Would that work? ;)

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