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    Gender and Language in
    British Literary Criticism,
    1660-1790


    Cambridge University Press
    December 1997



    During the eighteenth century, British critics apply terms of gender to literature according to the belief that masculine values represent the best literature and feminine terms signify less important works or authors. This book contends, however, that the meaning of gendered language, like "manly" or "effeminate," changes over time, and the language of eighteenth-century criticism, therefore, cannot be fully understood without a careful analysis of the gender and language of the era.

    In many ways, eighteenth-century critics set the agenda for the institutional evaluation of literature, and we have, consequently, inherited the gendered practices of their criticism. Because no book-length scholarship has yet addressed this issue, Gender and Language in British Literary Criticism could have wide ramifications for the study of eighteenth-century literature and feminist criticism.


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