ABOUT THIS BOOK
These original essays comprise a fascinating investigation into women's strategies for writing the self—constructing the female subject through autobiography, memoirs, letters, and diaries. The collection contains theoretical essays by Donna Stanton, Sandra Gilbert, and Susan Gilbert, and Susan Gubar; chapters on specific issues raised by women's autographs, such as Richard Bowring's study of tenth-century Japanese diaries or Janel Mueller's on The Book of Margery Kempe; and annotated autobiographical fragments, including texts by Julia Kristeva, by a woman who became a czarist cavalry officer, and by a contemporary Palestinian poet. There are also chapters on the seventeenth-century painter Artemisia Gentileschi; Mme de. Sévigné; Mendelssohn's sister, Fanny Hensel; the black minister Jarena Lee; Virginia Woolf; and Eva Peron. The result is a "conversation" between writers and critics across cultural and temporal boundaries. Stanton's essay plays off Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own. Kristeva begins with a reading of de Beauvoir, while a self-published French woman writes to defend the joys of family life against the author of Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter.