The Woman Author: A Comparative Analysis

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The fundamental notion of the female writer evolved within the nineteenth century when women were, and continued to be, considered as inferior beings when compared to their male counterparts. This is especially noticeable within the literary canon, where female writers are sparsely included in ‘reputable’ works of literature, let alone incorporated into any canon at all. Virginia Woolf, in her essay titled “In a Room of One’s Own” (1925), details the apparent trials and tribulations that female writers in the Victorian era experience when attempting to become recognized within a literary community. The female author is revisited during the second-wave feminist movement by Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar in their psychoanalytic text, “Infection in the Sentence” (1979), which focuses on the “anxiety” associated with the act of writing as a woman. The approach to identifying the complex social constructs applied to women writers differ due to Woolf’s insistence on androgynous writing in order to unify perceived male and female characteristics, whereas Gilbert and Gubar celebrate distinctly feminine literature as a means to encourage an active literary community of women. Both texts acknowledge the socially challenging function of authorship when considering the role of women as writers in a male-dominated literary community. By analyzing these texts through a feminist lens, it is evident that the notion of the female author is, and will forever be, encapsulated within the concept of gender, itself. Female authorship is discussed through literary concepts of genius, androgyny, popular canon, and psychoanalysis. In order to analyze the ways in which women writers have traditionally been rejected from the Western literary sphere and the ...

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...ead the movement. It can be concluded, however, that female authorship will always focus on the authorial voice of women because women’s writing will, and always will be, a discourse about gender.

Works Cited

Gilbert, Sandra and Susan Gubar. Infection in the Sentence. The Norton Anthology of Theory and

Criticism. Leitch, Vincent B, et all. New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 2010. 1926-1938.


Gubar, Susan. “’The Blank Page’ and the Issues of Female Creativity” Critical Inquiry 8.2

(1981): 243-263. Print.

Restuccia, Frances L. “’Untying the Mother Tongue: Female Difference in Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature 4.2

(1985): 253-264. Print.

Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One’s Own. The Norton Anthology of Theory

and Criticism. Leitch, Vincent B, et all. New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 2010.

896-905. Print.
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