Still Mad: American Women Writers and the Feminist Imagination, 1950–2020 by Sandra M Gilbert and Susan Gubar - review by Martha Rampton

Martha Rampton

Wave Formations

Still Mad: American Women Writers and the Feminist Imagination, 1950–2020


W W Norton 464pp £21.99

Motivated by Donald Trump’s election in 2016 and the president’s subsequent curtailing of women’s rights and welfare, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar have once more created a sweeping survey that straddles two centuries of women writers’ rage. The authors first made their mark with The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (1979), in which they uncovered an agenda of deliberate subversion encoded in the writings of women compelled to find their voices within a society of male dominance. The book has become a landmark of feminist literary scholarship and remains their best-known collaboration. In Still Mad they have updated their project, corralling myriad disparate voices to produce a cogent narrative about North American women’s artistic and intellectual output over the last seventy years.

Second-wave feminism serves as Gilbert and Gubar’s hermeneutic lens: all the women’s issues they discuss are measured against feminist ideologies and ideals born of a collective consciousness incubated in the second half of the 20th century. The book is divided into five sections and is aptly bookended by the

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

RLF - March

A Mirror - Westend

Follow Literary Review on Twitter