Literary Theory: “The Madwoman in the Attic” (1979) by Susan Gubar and Sandra M. Gilbert

“Penny Dreadful” still.

“It would not be too much to say that Anglo-American feminist criticism barely existed before [Gilbert and Gubar] rocked literary studies.”

Deborah D. Rogers, The Times Higher Education.

In 1979, Susan Gubar and Sandra M. Gilbert published The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination, a hallmark of second-wave feminist criticism. Over 700 pages long, The Madwoman in the Attic presents an analysis of a trope found in 19th-century literature. Gilbert and Gubar proposed that all female characters in male-authored novels can be categorised as either an angel or a monster; women in fiction were either pure and submissive or sensual, rebellious, and uncontrollable (very undesirable qualities in a Victorian daughter/mother/wife).

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