The evolution of Feminine writing with time
The debate that started with Virginia woolf in her novel "A Room Of One's Own" has travelled through times and is still alive in the category of feminist stylistics. The discussion has evolved about the existence of peculiarity of women writing as compared to men's writing. In 1929 Woolf has termed it as The 'female sentence' which she believes is visible in a women's writing. This idea of Woolf was scrutinised by various feminist and further explored by many critiques and contemporaries. I aim to establish how this strand of feminist stylistics has evolved over a period of time from the very early work of Virginia Woolf in "A room Of One's Own". I will examine how Virginia Woolf has described the term in relation to male sentence and then I will analyse Louise Sylvester's work in finding the traces of differences between male and female sentence. I will describe how the presence of female sentence is established in Sylvester's "Women, men and words: lexical choices in two fairy tales of the 1920s". After this I will be analysing the famous essay "The laugh of medusa" authored by much celebrated french feminist Helen Cixous.I will attempt to find out how does female sentence appear to her.
"A Room Of One's Own"
It is unique to see that Virginia woolf often deals with her surroundings in shaping views about the women writing. She interlinks her socio-economic ideas with the fiction of the novel. The central point of the book "A Room Of One's Own" is that women need a sacred space for their own to connect with their own thought process without any interruption. Her room is used as a symbol to indicate her privacy, leisure time and financial independence. According to Woolf these are the essential components that lead to countless inequalities between men and women. Women are generally deprived of this kind of luxury and the effect was visible in their work of writings. The essay is based upon a series of lecture that Woolf gives in two women colleges of Cambridge University. She visualizes the differences between the students of different genders in the university. She arrives at a point where she finds that women writers during her period were tamed by masculine tradition of writing which leads her to coining the term "female sentence". Woolf stated the fictional example of Judith Shakespeare as a woman whose writing capabilities never flourished because of the sexist circumstances. She discusses that her potential flair was ruined by personal grudges against men in the Elizabeth era. She argues that no women of Shakespeare's genius lived in Elizabeth times as the luxuries that was enjoyed by Shakespeare was limited to men and was not given to women writers of those times. As Shakespeare owned a drama company, he had no financial problems. He being a male, enjoyed power position in society which reflected that his works was readily accepted, and he had a space for himself where he could sit and concentrate to write. She cites the poem of Lady winchilsea, an aristocratic women but could find the shadow of fear and hatred merged in her writing. And she belives if the writer would have not been interwoven with negative, imprisoning emotions, she could have written brilliantly.
In the course of analysing the facts, Woolf traces women writers, their works and their socio economic conditions. She mentions the aristocrats, "Women of comparative freedom and comfort" who were resourceful enough to invest time in their writing and face public disapproval. She turns her attention to the contemporary of Lady Winchlsea, Duchess Margaret of Newcastle. Both had a very secured and respected family life. But she feels lonely Duchess Margaret of Newcastle would have been a better poet. Another sensitive melancholy writer Elizabeth Dorothy Osborne, who wrote only letters, was a very capable writer but her insecurity was visible into those writings. (The letters were not...
Bibliography: Woolf Virginia. A room of one 's own, Penguin books, 1993
Sylvester Louise. men, women and words: Lexical choices in two fairy tales of the 1920s
Sara mills feminist stylistics, 1995
Cixous, Helene.Keith Cohen and Paula Cohen, translators. “The Laugh of the Medusa.” Signs. 1.4. (1975): 875-893. Online.
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