This volume, like all others in the Critical Insights series, is divided into several sections. It begins with an introductory piece, “In Search of Identity: Woman, the Novel, and Voice in Works by Carter, Eliot, Sayers, and Woolf,” by Reema Faris which introduces the topic of feminism through discussion of recent feminist theory and the work of several different authors over a broad historical period.
Following the introductory essay, a collection of four critical contexts essays are intended to treat the novel (1) from a historical vantage point, (2) in terms of its critical reception, (3) using a specific critical lens, and (4) by comparing and contrasting it with another important work. This section opens with an article by Shakespeare scholar Frederick Kiefer titled, “The Mad Ophelia.” This essay uses historical perspectives to explore how Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet should be understood during her final appearance in the play. This is followed by a piece written by Joyce Ahn, “Introduction to Feminist Criticism: An Overview.” The following two articles are written by Robert C. Evans and Nanette Rasband Hilton respectively. The first, “Female Speakers in Poems by Thomas Campion,” offers a particular critical lens by focusing on writing in which poet Thomas Campion impersonates the voices of varying female speakers. The final essay, “Feminist Sisters: Margaret Fuller and Ida B. Wells and their Invitational Rhetoric,” compares and contrasts the rhetoric practice by both journalists.
Following these four Critical Context essays is the Critical Readings section of this book, which contains the following essays:
- “Old fashioned—naughty—everything—“: Uncreating Male and Female in the Poetry of Emily Dickinson, by Nicolas Tredell
- “Most men are human”: Race and Grant Allen’s The Type-Writer Girl, by Kellie Holzer
- Names by the Numbers: A Quantitative Close Reading of Mrs. Manson Mingott and Madame Olenska’s Shifting Names and Identities in Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, by Sarah Fredericks
- Revisiting Amy Lowell’s World War I Poetry, by Julie Goodspeed-Chadwick
- Mary Carolyn Davies: An Unknown Poet of the First World War, by Robert C. Evans
- The Woman Alone: Singleness and Survival in Jean Rhys’s Quartet, by Nicolas Tredell
- Double Femininity: Double Identity and the Femme Fatale Archetype, by Zachariah Pippin
- The 1998 Film of Toni Morrison’s Beloved: A Survey of Critical Reactions, by Alexzina Taylor Wilks
- The Film Version of Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club: A Survey of Critical Reactions, by Jordan Bailey
- Margaret Atwood’s Penelopiad: Scholarship, Theatrical Reviews, and Commentary, by Robert C. Evans
In the final section, Resources, a select bibliography of additional works that are pertinent to the theme is provided. Each essay in Critical Insights: Feminism includes a list of Works Cited and detailed endnotes. Also included in this volume is a Bibliography, biographies of the Editor and Contributors, and an alphabetical Index.