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Gender and Reading

'Gender and Reading' cover image

Gender and Reading

Essays on Readers, Texts and Contexts

If reading constitutes an active process of producing meaning, as many theorists contend, what impact does gender have on that process? In twelve essays, specialists in literature and psychology explre the many dimensions of this question. The result is a highly provocative encounter between feminist and reader-response criticsm, an articulation provising significant insights for both fields.

Gender and Reading comprises three interdependent sections. The first presents the central theoretical issues: gender as a factor in perception, gender as an incription in both text and reader, and sexual orientation as a source of identity in a female reader's interaction with a text. The second section focuses on particualr literary works, written by both men and women and representing various historical periods from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. Finally, the book examines the significance of gender in the actual reading behavior. These chapters include descriptions of reasearch among different types and groupd of readers.

As the first book-length study of the relationship between gender and reading, this volume makes substantial contributions to women's studies and literary theory. Its unique synthesis enlarges the scope and critical power of both reader-response and feminist thought.