Woman’s Art as Servant of Patriarchy: the Vision of Aurora Leigh

  • Deirdre David


One of the most vexed questions raised by feminist literary criticism is the degree to which women writers may be said to possess a voice of their own. Reduced to its fundamentals, the question is twofold: is there such a thing as a women’s language, and if there is, what is the relationship between that language and the one employed by those who, in one way or another, have possessed the social and cultural power to create the language against which, and within which, women may be said to define their own? If women writers have worked within the context of male-dominated systems of discourse, then how is women’s discourse to be defined? Is it, for example, to be discovered in symbolic forms which betray, even in the texts most consciously propitiative of male authority, an unconscious and angry subversion of dominant linguistic modes? These are large, and at this developed point in feminist literary criticism, rather obvious questions, yet they are clearly related to my examination of the ways in which women intellectuals in the Victorian period create and understand their own literary and intellectual performances.


Woman Writer Sexual Politics Cultural Power Male Authority Liberal Feminism 
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© Deirdre David 1987

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  • Deirdre David

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