March is Women’s History Month, so we continue highlighting some reference items related to women and women’s studies on the blog this month. This week we are looking at the Encyclopedia of Feminist Literature. This is an A to Z guide to feminist literature. Entries cover important feminist writers such as Aphra Behn, Jane Austen, Anaïs Nin, Sandra Cisnerors, and more much more. It also covers influential works, literary theories, motifs, issues, philosophical and literary developments, sources, women’s history, literary history, genres, themes, characters, and literary conventions.
The work is arranged in more than 500 entries in alphabetical order. It draws on the expertise of a diverse group of scholars. In addition, topics are drawn from “a close examination of the syllabi of women’s studies, literature, and social issues classes, as well as the contents of current textbooks, supplemental reading lists, and notable projects and seminars that have drawn together teachers, students, writers, activists, and authorities on feminist concerns” (vii).
Each entry includes a short bibliography for further reading. Entries also include cross-references (indicated by names in full caps in an entry). In addition to the entries, the volume also features:
- An introductory essay for the volume that provides an overview of feminist literature and writers.
- A list of authors by genre. For example, get a list of feminist writers who write drama.
- A list of major feminist authors and their works.
- A timeline of major works in feminist literature.
- A primary sources bibliography listing print works and electronic texts.
- A secondary sources bibliography for works about the writers and feminist literature.
- A small list of relevant films.
- An index, where boldfaced terms indicate main entries.
For students in literary studies, classes with literature elements, and WGS (women and gender studies), this can be a volume of interest. Whether you need to find a specific term or idea, such as “letter writing,” look up an author like Amy Tan, or get a quick overview of a work, say Life in the Iron Mills, this is the book for you. If you are starting to do research on feminist literature, fiction or nonfiction, this is book is an excellent starting point.
You can find it in the library’s Second Floor Reference Collection under the call number R 809.892 S673e 2006.