Notes on Feminist Literary Criticism in the University Workshop, 1974, page 5

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Printed history, however, suffers from a time-lag, aggravated now by thefik

financial crisis in the publishing world. The signs of the future (and"

this is an inprcssion that grew out of the workshop) are to be found in

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the classroom. The creation of Women's Studies concentrations/majors/

departwents,.pensenally.designed courses liberated from the canon of

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tradition/are providiqg_inmediate implementation of feminist approaches

within the university. No single methodology has emerged; rather, a


proliferation of options.

Problems remain, however. As one participant (Elizabeth
StarEevié() aptly put it, we are “searching for the new while still
using the tools of the old."


Claude Lévi-Strauss's term bricolave has been used to describe the

The old, of course, can still serve.

activity of the literary critic: a bricoleur putters around, doing what

he can with whatever tools are at his disposal. Since only divine

creation occurs Q; nihilo, and the writer's text is always the recreation

of a pre-existent text, we must begin by using the tools fie have to

build a meta-text of our own.


1.This was the missing element in the E3 definition cited by Denna Startun


above; without a counter-bias, feminist critics are no‘ more than literary

detectives, unearthing clues to textual/sexual discrimination.

2.From her essay, "On Reading the Writings of Women," Colymbia Foggy‘,

Fall 1959, cited in the N.Y. Times Book Review , May 5, l9?#, p.4.

3. I would like to thank the following feminists and scholars who
shared their impressions with us, in person and in writing, and who

gave me a text to build from: Silvana Buccianti, Marie Collins, Helene HedyA~

 Ehrlich, Jane Grace, Madelyn Gutwirth, Ellen Silber, Bonnie Scott,

it Ann Snitow, Elizabeth Stareevic, Gloria Waldman, Joan Wiemer.