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

By

W W Norton 464pp £21.99 order from our bookshop
 

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

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