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20. The Classical Feminist Tradition

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Introduction to Theory of Literature (ENGL 300)

In this lecture on feminist criticism, Professor Paul Fry uses Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own as a lens to and commentary on the flourishing of feminist criticism in the twentieth century. The structure and rhetoric of A Room of One's Own is extensively analyzed, as are its core considerations of female novelists such as Austen, Eliot, and the Brontës. The works of major feminist critics, such as Ann Douglas, Mary Ellman, Kate Millett, Elaine Showalter, and Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, are mentioned. The logocentric approach to gender theory, specifically the task of defining female language as something different and separate from male language, is considered alongside Woolf's own endorsement of literary and intellectual androgyny.

00:00 - Chapter 1. Transition into Feminist Theory: Tony the Tow Truck
06:35 - Chapter 2. Overlapping Identities
15:29 - Chapter 3. The Structure of A Room of One's Own
22:32 - Chapter 4. Feminist Criticism and A Room of One's Own
28:23 - Chapter 5. Women's Language and the Male Sentence
39:18 - Chapter 6. Complications and Implications of Classical Feminism

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses

This course was recorded in Spring 2009.