The historical implication of "Feminism" usually means "movement for recognition of the claims of woman for rights (legal, political, familial, etc.) equal to those possessed by men. It is said that Eve is depicted as made from "a supernumerary bone" of Adam; therefore, women have always been considered inferior to men. However, as Barnes suggests, "the minimal criteria for feminism" should include the claim for equal status, rights and roles with men. From the very early time, women began to strive fro their self-evaluation. The Enlightenment Movement and the American and French revolutions contributed a lot to the new rise of feminism. Such literary women as Austin, Brontës, Eliot and Dickenson appeared that time. In the early 20th century, women finally gained the suffrage which marked the climax of the women's liberation movement. In the 1960s, New Feminism concerned with the human rights for black people again came to its climax. This time, it was more pervasive and comprehensive in all fields of society, according feminist literary criticism found its way to critical theories.
2. Feminist Criticism
Feminist criticism is a study of works written by female writers, describing women's life or representing women's consciousness. Arlyn Diamond and Lee R Edwards, in the foreword to The Authority o Experience: Essays in Feminist Criticism, point out that "feminist critics, obviously, are distinguished by virtue of their particular concern with society's beliefs about the nature and function of women in the world, with the transformation of these beliefs into literary plots, with the ways in which artistic and critical strategies adjust and control attitudes toward women. Compared with the long tradition of...
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Raman Selden, Peter Widdowson, and Peter Brooker. A Reader's Guide to Contemporary Literary Theory. 4th ed. London: Prentice Hall and Harvester Wheatrsheaf. 1997.
Robert Con Davis. ed. Contemporary Literature Criticism. New York: Longman. 1986.
陈惇, 孙景尧, 谢天振. 比较文学. 北京: 高等教育出版社. 1997.
马新国. 西方文论史. 北京: 高等教育出版社. 2002.
朱刚. 二十世纪西方文艺批评理论. 上海: 上海外语教育出版社. 2001.
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