Inventing Herself: Claiming a Feminist Intellectual Heritage

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Scribner, 2001 - Social Science - 384 pages
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Sure to take its place alongside the literary landmarks of modern feminism, Elaine Showalter's brilliant, provocative work chronicles the roles of feminist intellectuals from the eighteenth century to the present.

With sources as diverse as "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" and "Scream 2, Inventing Herself" is an expansive and timely exploration of women who possess a boundless determination to alter the world by boldly experiencing love, achievement, and fame on a grand scale. These women tried to work, travel, think, love, and even die in ways that were ahead of their time. In doing so, they forged an epic history that each generation of adventurous women has rediscovered.

Focusing on paradigmatic figures ranging from Mary Wollstonecraft and Margaret Fuller to Germaine Greer and Susan Sontag, preeminent scholar Elaine Showalter uncovers common themes and patterns of these women's lives across the centuries and discovers the feminist intellectual tradition they embodied. The author brilliantly illuminates the contributions of Eleanor Marx, Zora Neale Hurston, Simone de Beauvoir, Margaret Mead, and many more.

Showalter, a highly regarded critic known for her provocative and strongly held opinions, has here established a compelling new Who's Who of women's thought. Certain to spark controversy, the omission of such feminist perennials as Susan B. Anthony, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Virginia Woolf will surprise and shock the conventional wisdom.

This is not a history of perfect women, but rather of real women, whose mistakes and even tragedies are instructive and inspiring for women today who are still trying to invent themselves.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - startingover - LibraryThing

Good stuff on Mary Wollstonecraft, Olive Schreiner; interesting on Simone de B; don't know why she even gave book space to Camille Paglia, although it helped to re-affirm why I never could stand to ... Read full review

INVENTING HERSELF: Claiming a Feminist Intellectual Heritage

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Feminist scholar Showalter (Sister's Choice, 1991, etc.) stirs together literary history, biography, personal reminiscence, and pop culture in a peculiar narrative that devotes as much time to female ... Read full review

Contents

Adventures in Womanhood
13
Mary Wollstonecraft
21
Margaret Fuller
41
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

Elaine Showalter is professor of English and Avalon Foundation Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and the author of A Literature of Their Own and Sexual Anarchy. A frequent contributor and book reviewer for American magazines and British newspapers, including the London Times Literary Supplement, she has also written television reviews for People. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

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