Scholarship never takes place in a vacuum, and feminist criticism is a particularly populous enterprise, both because of the cooperation it encourages and because of the generosity of spirit distinguishing its individual practitioners. I am especially grateful to Mary Jacobus, Sydney Janet Kaplan, and Ann Snitow for reading and commenting on this manuscript in several versions. Thanks also to Miriam Ami-hai, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Gayle Greene, Alison Lurie, and Scott McMillin, who read and commented on one or more individual chapters. Temma Berg, Tucker Farley, Philip Brian Harper, Tamar Katz, Diane McPherson, Deborah Rosenfelt, Claire Sprague, and Barbara Szmyd offered ideas that I happily incorporated. Gwen Bird was an able research assistant on the Margaret Atwood chapter, and Frederick Muratori was unfailingly patient in helping me negotiate the labyrinth of the Cornell University Library system. The American Council of Learned Societies and the College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell University provided leave and travel support. Bernhard Kendler of Cornell University Press proved predictably talented in finding exactly the readers this manuscript needed, among them Brenda Silver and Patricia Yaeger. Gerard Cox proved once again my most assiduous reader and critic. Finally, I am indebted to the various organizations where I have found feminist criticism to be most successfully institutionalized: the National Women’s Studies Association, the Modern Language Association, the Northeast Modern Language Association (with special thanks to its Women’s Caucus), the Doris Lessing Society, and most of all the Cornell University English Department, whose members encouraged and supported this work from its beginnings.
Passages from Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood, copyright © 1976 by O. W. Toad, Ltd, are used by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc.; the Canadian Publishers, McClelland and Stewart, Toronto; and Andre Deutsch Ltd. Quotations from The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing, copyright © 1962, 1990 by Doris Lessing, appear by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc., and Michael Joseph Ltd. Passages from After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie by Jean Rhys, copyright 1931 by Jean Rhys, are reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., and Anthony Sheil Associates Ltd.