Modern Fiction Studies presents here a number devoted entirely to feminist criticism. Such a number is possible because of the fifty-one critics who responded to the May deadline, a response which testifies to the interest in and commitment to feminist criticism. Such a response makes the editing work both less and more difficult—less because of the many interesting essays to choose from; more because of the many interesting essays that cannot be included.
The eleven essays herein reflect the range of the entire body of submissions. Critics focus on well and little known texts, on writers of formidable and fledgling reputation. African, European, and American literatures find their readers; male and female feminist critics find their voices. The wide-ranging interests of the feminist critics in this collection are typical of the interests of feminist critics in general, as Laura Sue Fuderer's checklist makes clear.
That pluralism is at the center of feminist criticism; for, as Shirley Staton observes, "feminists and Third World critics, more recent participants in literary discourse, are more eclectic in their methodologies, drawing on a number of critical approaches" (Literary Theories in Praxis). The feminist critics in this volume use a variety of approaches as they invite their readers to articulate and to examine their responses to language and literature. [End Page 335]
Margaret Moan Rowe, an Advisory Editor and Guest Coeditor of this special issue, frequently reviews for this journal. Her published articles are on L. P. Hartley, John le Carré, Muriel Spark, Margaret Drabble, and Nadine Gordimer.