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The language of exclusion : the poetry of Emily Dickinson and Christina Rossetti /

Main Author:
Other Authors: Abbott, Andrea.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Greenwood Press, 1987
Series: Contributions in women's studies, ; no. 83.
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The Language of Exclusion is a pioneering feminist critical study of two of the most enigmatic 19th-century women poets--Emily Dickinson and Christina Rossetti. The authors take as their point of departure the spinster/recluse model, which they argue has characterized most biographies of 19th-century women poets written before 1960. Rejecting this model, they build instead on the rich tradition of feminist literary criticism exemplified by the work of writers like Elaine Showalter, Lillian Robinson, and Martha Vicinus. In The Language of Exclusion they focus on the shared historical experience of these two most private poets to reveal their public significance and demonstrate the inadequacy of the spinster/recluse model.


Part ILiving in the World Overview Parallel Sketches
Part IILives Emily Dickinson Christina Rossetti
Part IIIThe Victorian World War Poems The Market is for Bankers, Burglars and Goblins Woman's Place/Woman's Nature
Part IVConclusion Women Poets, Literary Influence and the Canon Notes Selected Bibliography Index to Dickinson's Poems Cited in Text Index to Rossetti's Poems Cited in Text

Review by Choice Review

This study's strength lies in its determination to change the interpretative strategies one brings to Dickinson and Rossetti's works in order to read their poems in their full political, social, and stylistic contexts. Leder and Abbott demonstrate that both poets wrote about war, industrialism, and their culture's oppressive inscriptions of women. The authors also successfully highlight the parallel familial and social circumstances from which these poets sprang. The book's weakness lies in its attempt to explore all these issues-plus offering biographical sketches and considerations of their subjects' status in English and American literary history-in a book of fewer than 200 pages. Too much is given to repeating biographical and critical materials already well known; too little to expanding the author's original insights. The result is a text appropriate only for novices in the field. Greenwood's ``Contributions in Women's Studies'' series is potentially valuable, but its editors could more adequately help writers struggling to bring their work to fruition. Careful editorial guidance would have made this well-intentioned text much stronger; careful production would have made it more legible. Appropriate for college and community college students.-S.K. Harris, Queens College, CUNY

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

SHARON LEDER is Coordinator of the Women's Studies Program at the State University of New York College at New Paltz.

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