Battle Stations

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Author: Helen Carr
Editor: Jeffrey W. Hunter
Date: 2001
Publisher: Gale
Document Type: Critical essay
Length: 773 words

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[(review date 7 October 1994) In the following review of the three volumes of No Man's Land, Carr faults Gilbert and Gubar for reductionist and strained readings of the texts they present.]

The phrase "No Man's Land" is a curiously negative and undecided image for women's writing. For the most striking characteristic of a No Man's Land is surely emptiness. Yet if the 1,200 odd pages in the three volumes of this account were to prove nothing else, they make clear that the 20th century is full of women writers.

Gibert and Gubar, both senior US academics, themselves seem to be hunkering down in the trenches. No Man's Land is conscientious but confused, painstaking but perplexed. It has nothing like the panache and drive of their landmark account of 19th-century women's writing, The Madwoman in the Attic (1979), published in the heady early days of feminist literary criticism, when women were women and a man's place was in the wrong. Now that it is necessary to talk about the mutability and fictiveness of gender roles, and men come not only as patriarchs but as homosexuals, Jews and blacks, everything is less easily resolved....

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Gale Document Number: GALE|H1100036846