Scholarship and Feminism: Conflict, Compromise, Creativity, 1974, page 4

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" a room of our own" 5- a tradition with which future generations of female
scholars can identify and upon which they-will improve. If I may extend this
metaphore, I believe that this“roonfshould be neither the attic nor the basement
nor a back room in which we hide and converse in secret with our sisters, but
a living room which is located in the mainstream of critical thought.

All of use here probably have our own definition of feminist literary

criticism and I hope that this af§ernoon we can exchange and sharpen our views

.on that definition. iy own coincides at least in part with the definition

formulated by the editors of Female Studies VI (l972):"Feministic criticism,

‘then, is concerned to examine the representation of women in literature, the

mo*tYes and behaviors assigned to them, their function in the plot, the images

and symbols associated with them, and the descriptive and judgmental biases

of the narrgive point of view." This critical approach can yield enormous insights
into male literature. But feminist criticism should also deal in the same

critical way with the vast tradition of female literature which is slowly

being discovered. There is a tendency within us, I think, to be critical of

male literature and uncritical of female works; to chastize the former and

celebrate the latter. But it is only by being critical, I feel, that we can see
the way women have looked at themselves in the past and that we can exorcise

those assumptions we wish to reject. And it is furthermore only by being