Finch, Burney, Barbauld and the Brontes: feminine identity

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1992
Authors
Davis, Lori
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English
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Abstract

Modern readers of literature have occasionally noticed similarities in the themes and imagery of British women writers. These similarities have been argued as springing from either a shared cultural heritage or a gender-specific biological experience. Proponents of the 'nurture' camp suggest that common life experiences within western culture, including a shared literary history, political invisibility, and domestic responsibilities which set definite limits on intellectual pursuits worked to create in these women a shared consciousness, intimately connected to their personal identities, which encodes a distinctly feminine imprint on much of their work. Proponents of the 'nature' camp, on the other hand, suggest that not cultural experience, per se, but the biological differences between men and women are largely responsible for the similarities in women's writing.

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