A Handbook of Literary Feminisms brings together for the first time two distinct threads of literary feminism: literary history and feminist criticism and theory. The first section of the book offers a history of women's contributions to Anglo-American literature over the past 500 years. It charts the social, cultural, and historical conditions that both shaped women's writing and prevented it from being recognized or valued by literary history. The second section provides an explanation and analysis of trends in feminist criticism and theory, focusing on how feminist approaches to women's texts have incorporated theoretical investigations of sexuality, subjectivity, and ideology. A Handbook of Literary Feminisms addresses the following questions: * Why do women write? * What is the range of women writers' subject matter and themes? * What genres have women chosen to write in and why? * How are female characters presented in women's texts? * What innovations in form and style have women contributed to literature? * How have women's texts been received by readers? * How have the processes of publication affected women's writing? * How has the process of canonization shaped the literary history of women? * How have women writers responded to literature written by women? * How did women's literature affect history and culture, including feminism? Supplemented by a time line, a glossary of key terms, and bibliographies of primary and secondary sources, A Handbook of Literary Feminisms explores what women's writing means today and has meant over the centuries. An indispensable resource, it is an ideal text for courses in women's studies, women's literature, feminist studies, and gender studies.