Feminist Literary Criticism Essay

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Feminist Literary Criticism Feminist literary criticism, according to Michael Delahoyde, “critiques patriarchal language and literature by exposing how these reflect masculinity ideology” (Delahoyde). It was in the late 1970s, when feminist criticism became a strong literary criticism in the Western studies (Murfin). The aim of this paper is to analyse some of the main points between two feminist criticisms: the French criticism and the Anglo-American criticism. French feminists were highly influenced by Simone de Beauvoir. In her book entitled The Second Sex (1949), de Beauvoir, influenced by Sartre’s existencialism, states that ‘one is not born a woman; one becomes one’ (qtd in Moi, p. 92). Therefore, de Beauvoir argues that woman is culturally constructed as man’s Other (Moi, p. 92). During the late 1970s, French feminist criticism accepted de Beauvoir’s ideas and applied them to ‘language as a tool of male domination’ (Murfin). The influence of psychoanalisys was also significant in this criticism. During the 1960s, psychoanalysis was accepted by the French feminism because it ‘could provide an emancipatory theory of the personal and a path to the exploration of the unconscious’, both important to the explanation of the oppressive situation of women in patriarchies (Moi, p. 97). On the contrary, the Anglo-American feminists did not accept psychoanalytic theories until the publication of Juliet Mitchell’s book Psychoanalysis and Feminism in 1974 (Moi, p. 97). With respect to literary genders, French feminists Julia Kristeva and Hélène Cixous believe that the sexuality of the woman is directly related to the production of poetry, ‘con los impulsos psicosomáticos que desbaratan la tiranía del significado y el discurso logocéntrico...’ (Selden, p. 170). Julia Kristeva argues that poetry is the privileged place for analysis because, there, desire and fear

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