Notes on Feminist Literary Criticism in the University Workshop, 1974, page 3

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Feminist criticism, then, must involve another element, and one hsfffyg

5;. that is generally assigned a negative value in scholarship : bias. This l lbiTl


means the peculiar vision acguired (for if one is born female, one is not 7*’

V born feminist) by a new perspective--an optic which recognizes the

"neutrality" of male discourse as subjectivity, and subéfitutes an-Other
subjectivity, an ideology of differencc(s). (Ideally, this bias would
acknowledge its focus, and therefore reflect a dialectical model : ‘

By a re-vision of what is female in literature, we will have

_ proceeded to step one: seeing what is and has always been there. The

advantage of exploring this untapped mine--to use a metaphor dear to
male pornographers--and asserting one's own subjectivity, means not only I

making a contribution to scholarship (that well-worn motivation), but

‘personal and ultimately ggllggtigg self~confidence. As Elizabeth Hardwick»;f

has said: “The proper study of mankind may be man, but the subject for women:

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is other wcmen...It is a subject upon which one can speak with something
like authority. I am, I say to myself, a woman after all." 2 The sense
of assurance she describes derives from attacking material upon which we are,
by accident of birth, potentially "natural" authorities. (The world can be our
oyster too.) I i

That feeling of authority amounts to an emotional and intellectualh’
conviction which is crucial if we are to go beyond stage one, solipsism,
to activism. By activism I mean an intellectual advocacy that can not

only challenge and decenter male-bound scholarship, but erect an independent

infrastructure. The passage from stage one to stage two is the critical

one in any movement, for it involves the transition from theory to pr%gti§§§ , ,
. n can can '-

' 2

and the interpenetration of the two: practice must also inform theory. T‘ i