We are two part-time academics. Ellen teaches in the English department and Jim in the IT program at George Mason University.

Women's poetry · 21 October 06

Dear Marianne,

Small crow. My review of Paula Backscheider’s book about 18th century women poets has been published and I’ve put it on the Net on my website. I am proud of it. I enjoyed writing it because I had immensely enjoyed the reading: I loved the poetry & essays on women’s poetry.

I didn’t have the room (nor was it appropriate) to discuss the background of such a book: the belief there is such a thing as "l’ecriture-femme," or to put it another way, women’s writing & visual art often differs from men’s in content & form. To compensate (on the Net at least), I included pictures and bibliography:

Paula Backscheider’s _Eighteenth-Century Women Poets and Their Poetry

Sappho, the oldest known image, from a sixth-century B.C. Greek vase


Posted by: Ellen

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  1. From Judy G:

    "Thank you very much for posting the link to your review, Ellen – I enjoyed reading it very much. It makes me want to read the Backscheider book – and more work by the women poets you discuss. The pictures are also lovely, especially the one by Kerstig of the woman writing.

    All the best,
    Elinor    Oct 22, 10:27pm    #
  2. From Thomas on WWTTA:


    Excellent review! Congrats.

    And when you state: "If readers and writers are to persuade a male-dominated literary establishment which still ridicules, marginalizes, and dismisses women’s writers, vital poetry must be distinguished from the historically interesting and dominate discussions of earlier women’s poetry especially. There is plenty of it."

    I sense a new book project. Hint, hint. Just you wait. I am going to track you down on this.


    Thomas Fortenberry

    PS: Did you arrange the art specific for your webpage or was that the provided art in the journal? It’s a very nice presentation."
    Elinor    Oct 22, 10:30pm    #
  3. Thank you to Thomas and Judy. It’s a real pleasure to have comments like yours on my review.

    Thomas, I arranged the text myself. I have so many future projects ahead. I need only to live another 100 years.

    Elinor    Oct 22, 10:34pm    #
  4. From John Dussinger:

    "I did read your fine review in Jim May’s Intelligencer and found much to learn from it. While working on my two volumes of the Richardson correspondence, I’ve been involved with various women writers who tended to write poetry to circulate in manuscript without any thought of publication. I don’t know whether that kind of activity gets covered by Backscheider.

    It is, I believe, a very important category of writing, which included men as well as women—those engaged in writing without any thought of going public. That’s what I tried to suggest in my review of Patricia Spacks’s article on the personal letter for Richetti’s Companion, something printed in the most recent Scriblerian.

    Elinor    Oct 30, 11:50pm    #
  5. Dear John,

    Backscheider does cover manuscript circulation and she says it’s important. She further argues that we need to have a different definition of what a poet’s career looks like in the case of women then and now. I didn’t mention it as I couldn’t cover everything :).

    I’ll have a look at your review in the Scriblerian. I have a copy sitting on my coffee table.

    Elinor    Oct 30, 11:53pm    #

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