front cover of The Pink Guitar
The Pink Guitar
Writing as Feminist Practice
Rachel Blau DuPlessis
University of Alabama Press, 2006
An influential feminist study of poetry and writing
The Pink Guitar is a landmark study of women's writing and poetics—and representations of women artists—in the 20th century. It probes the work of H.D., William Carlos Williams, and Marcel Duchamp, among others, and includes DuPlessis’s pioneering essay “For the Etruscans,” described in American Literature as “one of the finest pieces of criticism in the feminist literary tradition.”



front cover of Pink Pirates
Pink Pirates
Contemporary American Women Writers and Copyright
Caren Irr
University of Iowa Press, 2010

Today, copyright is everywhere, surrounded by a thicket of no trespassing signs that mark creative work as private property. Caren Irr’s Pink Pirates asks how contemporary novelists—represented by Ursula Le Guin, Andrea Barrett, Kathy Acker, and Leslie Marmon Silko—have read those signs, arguing that for feminist writers in particular copyright often conjures up the persistent exclusion of women from ownership. Bringing together voices from law schools, courtrooms, and the writer's desk, Irr shows how some of the most inventive contemporary feminist novelists have reacted to this history. 

 Explaining the complex, three-century lineage of Anglo-American copyright law in clear, accessible terms and wrestling with some of copyright law's most deeply rooted assumptions, Irr sets the stage for a feminist reappraisal of the figure of the literary pirate in the late twentieth century—a figure outside the restrictive bounds of U.S. copyright statutes. 

 Going beyond her readings of contemporary women authors, Irr’s exhaustive history of how women have fared under intellectual property regimes speaks to broader political, social, and economic implications and engages digital-era excitement about the commons with the most utopian and materialist strains in feminist criticism.


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Place Matters
Morgan, Susan
Rutgers University Press, 1996

"Morgan has written an important and original work that presents a well-substantiated challenge to many recent studies of 'colonial discourse'."--Nancy L. Paxton,

Susan Morgan's study of materials and regions, previously neglected in contemporary postcolonial studies, begins with the transforming premise that "place matters." Concepts derived from writings about one area of the world cannot simply be transposed to another area, in some sort of global theoretical move. Moreover, place in the discourse of Victorian imperialism is a matter of gendered as well as geographic terms. Taking up works by Anna Forbes and Marianne North on the Malay Archipelago, by Margaret Brooke and Harriette McDougall on Sarawak, by Isabella Bird and Emily Innes on British Malaya, by Anna Leonowens on Siam, Morgan also makes extensive use of theorists whose work on imperialism in Southeast Asia is unfamiliar to most American academics.

This vivid examination of a different region and different writings emphasizes that in Victorian literature there was no monolithic imperialist location, authorial or geographic. The very notion of a ‘colony’ or an ‘imperial presence’ in Southeast Asia is problematic. Morgan is concerned with marking the intersections of particular Victorian imperial histories and constructions of subjectivity. She argues that specific places in Southeast Asia have distinctive, and differing, masculine imperial rhetorics. It is within these specific rhetorical contexts that women’s writings, including their moments of critique, can be read.


front cover of The Poetics of Difference
The Poetics of Difference
Queer Feminist Forms in the African Diaspora
Mecca Jamilah Sullivan
University of Illinois Press, 2021
Winner of the Modern Language Association (MLA)’s William Sanders Scarborough Prize

From Audre Lorde, Ntozake Shange, and Bessie Head, to Zanele Muholi, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Missy Elliott, Black women writers and artists across the African Diaspora have developed nuanced and complex creative forms. Mecca Jamilah Sullivan ventures into the unexplored spaces of black women’s queer creative theorizing to learn its languages and read the textures of its forms. Moving beyond fixed notions, Sullivan points to a space of queer imagination where black women invent new languages, spaces, and genres to speak the many names of difference. Black women’s literary cultures have long theorized the complexities surrounding nation and class, the indeterminacy of gender and race, and the multiple meanings of sexuality. Yet their ideas and work remain obscure in the face of indifference from Western scholarship.

Innovative and timely, The Poetics of Difference illuminates understudied queer contours of black women’s writing.


front cover of The Politics of the Female Body
The Politics of the Female Body
Postcolonial Women Writers
Ketu H. Katrak
Rutgers University Press, 2006

Is it possible to simultaneously belong to and be exiled from a community? In Politics of the Female Body, Ketu H. Katrak argues that it is not only possible, but common, especially for women who have been subjects of colonial empires.

Through her careful analysis of postcolonial literary texts, Katrak uncovers the ways that the female body becomes a site of both oppression and resistance. She examines writers working in the English language, including Anita Desai from India, Ama Ata Aidoo from Ghana, and Merle Hodge from Trinidad, among others. The writers share colonial histories, a sense of solidarity, and resistance strategies in the on-going struggles of decolonization that center on the body.

Bringing together a rich selection of primary texts, Katrak examines published novels, poems, stories, and essays, as well as activist materials, oral histories, and pamphlets—forms that push against the boundaries of what is considered strictly literary. In these varied materials, she reveals common political and feminist alliances across geographic boundaries.

A unique comparative look at women’s literary work and its relationship to the body in third world societies, this text will be of interest to literary scholars and to those working in the fields of postcolonial studies and women’s studies.


front cover of Protecting the Spanish Woman
Protecting the Spanish Woman
Gender Identity and Empowerment in María de Zayas's Works
Xabier Granja Ibarreche
University of Nevada Press, 2023
An important contribution to the study of women writers.

María de Zayas is unique in the seventeenth century as the only Spanish woman to write a collection of exemplary novels whose quality is often compared to Miguel de Cervantes’ masterful works. Her two main collections of short stories, Novelas amorosas y ejemplares and Desengaños amorosos, encompass a social critique based on literary fiction that exposes flaws in the idealized archetypes of masculine identity in early modern Spain. Zayas’s stories redefine women’s patriarchal disadvantage as a tool to expose the ways in which early modern Spanish women could be empowered to counteract men’s discursive and political authority, which they use to unfairly maintain their own social privilege.
Xabier Granja Ibarreche explores how Zayas defies Spanish hegemony by manipulating and transforming the ideals of courtly masculinity that had been popularized by conduct manuals and the traits they specified for appropriate noble comportment. In doing so, Zayas elaborates a nonofficial discourse throughout plots that subvert patriarchal hierarchies: she rearticulates the existing ideological order to empower women who are no longer willing to remain silent and oppressed by masculine domination after centuries of failing to attain a sufficiently self-sufficient political position to ascend in the social hierarchy. By inverting the male gaze that assumes masculinity as a preeminent identity, Zayas subverts the patriarchal subject/masculine, object/feminine order and destabilizes manly superiority as a basic universal reality, thereby empowering and unshackling Spanish women to liberate Iberian culture from the repressive and pernicious future she forebodes.

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