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The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (Yale Nota Bene S) 2 Sub Edition

19 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0300084580
ISBN-10: 0300084587
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A groundbreaking study of women writers." -- Martin Arnold, The New York Times

About the Author

Sandra M. Gilbert is professor of English at the University of California at Davis. Susan Gubar is professor of English and women's studies at Indiana University. They are the co-authors of the three-volume No Man's Land, also published by Yale University Press.
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Product Details

  • Series: Yale Nota Bene S
  • Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 2 Sub edition (July 11, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300084587
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300084580
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 68 people found the following review helpful By hezlj on November 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
I took this book out of the library just over a month ago, in the hope of finding a few useful bits and bobs for an coursework essay on women in Victorian literature. Last year, I became vaguely aware that Gilbert and Gubar must be pretty influential, since so many other critics seemed to be referring to them, but I don't think any amount of recommendation could have prepared me to be quite so blown away.
This book went so far above and beyond my expectations that I'd bought my own copy and taken the library book back within a week. I pretty well devoured it, and had to make myself stop reading so that I didn't neglect writing the essay for which I'd obtained it.
It's a rare and magical thing when you discover a critic who not only writes a fascinating and compelling argument, but actually makes it readable and accessible. As to the reviewers who found it verbose and poorly written, Lord help you if you have to wade through anything of the usual density of pretentious academics. I often find reading critical material a pretty depressing experience for that reason, but Gilbert and Gubar managed somehow to make it all seem incredibly exciting.
Five stars also for sheer comprehensiveness - something on this scale must have taken a phenomenal amount of work. The book might present itself as an examination of nineteenth-century literature exclusively, but it definitely goes way beyond that, analysing the mythology that has been defining women in Western culture for centuries. I can, as a result, see myself returning to this again and again, both for university essays, and for my own personal benefit.
An absolute must-read for anyone remotely interested in feminist theory and/or the social functions of the myths and images that recur time and again in English literature.
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32 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Molly M. Wolf on September 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
What scholar of the Gothic, particularly the Female Gothic, could do without Madwoman?
Named for Bertha, the mad wife locked in the attic of Thornfield Hall in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, Gilbert and Gubar's work on nineteenth-century women writers and their texts is essential in this field.
Well written, insightful, imaginative, and authoritative, Madwomen in the Attic is, in my opinion, a seminal text in Gothic literary scholarship.
I highly recommend this book, and its companion book "No Mans Land."
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24 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Oksol VINE VOICE on January 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
Could this have been titled "The Misreading of 19th Century Female Novelists"? "The Madwoman" is not an easy read: it's an academic effort and a superb effort at that. But the casual bronteelioteyre fan will be lulled into a sense of familiarity -- "yes, I remember reading that" -- only to discover too late that he / she has completely missed the point of all those famous 19th century novels, at least from the perspective of these two clever, insightful, witty women who somehow came together to write perhaps the definitive feminist view of 19th century female novelists. Taking just one example out of hundreds: after reading their discussion of Jane Austen's "Northanger Abbey," I re-read the novel and couldn't stop laughing at this parody. Even more entertaining was the fact that so many critics panned "Northanger" when it came out, misreading that it was a parody of the entire genre of the romantic (with a small "r") novel of that era.

[Added later (November 11, 2008)]: this is one of the landmark books in "feminist studies." Whether one agrees with these authors, the fact is that any newer work on feminist studies will quote this book. Someone remarked that the authors are very verbose; they needed a better editor with a red pen, but that's fine. Sometimes it takes multiple explanations before the reader understands the concept. I find myself going back to this book often to look up a specific author / specific work. I continue to highly recommend it.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Genevieve Pecharka on June 25, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're looking to study literary criticism, specifically on 19th-century writings of any kind, Gilbert & Gubar's feminist critical collection "The Madwoman in the Attic" is completely indispensible. This particular copy of the book, too, is excellent, with clear text, a helpfully modern introduction, and a well-organized index. Even if you're not interested in its critical aspect, Gilbert & Gubar's pinpoint analyses of 19th-century writings (Bronte, Eliot, Dickinson, etc.) will open your eyes to new meanings behind the female characters & writers, and their worlds.
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25 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Ted Ficklen on December 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a great re-structuring view of Women artists in the Victorian era. Once you've read this, everything looks different and it makes you want to re-visit novels like Jane Eyre and Middlemarch and Sense and Sensibility just to see how much they have changed. Madwomen is a work of creativity as much as criticism. It changes you. Once you have read this, you find yourself in a whole different ocean.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Jacoby on February 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anyone interested in Women's Literature or the Victorian Novel in general needs to let Gilbert and Gubar into their lives. Their other classic criticism source is "Rooms of our Own."
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24 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
As a former student of Susan Gubar, I would have to recommend this book to anyone interested in a deeper understading of the novels covered and also finding a different perspective to the traditional critical approaches. As a groundbreaking work, this collection critically looks at and analyzes many different aspects approaching the anxiety of female authorship. This work is truly interesting, and to all of the naysayers, I can vouch that the authors are have a very compelling and informed perspective. The second edition proves that it is a work that will be around for a very long time and that the work will not fall into obscurity, for it is a inspired work of literary criticism. I would recommend this to anyone who seeks a deeper look into the popular women novelists.
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