Surprisingly little notice is yet being taken of what has steadily over recent years become a marked imbalance in literary criticism. One might have expected, after Eugene August's 1982 article in College English calling attention to the problem, a series of papers reflecting a growing awareness of what seems obvious and expressing concern for its problematical implications. But very few have appeared. The following observations, therefore, represent those I have been expecting to read in papers that, for some reason, have not been written. My thesis is that against a large and growing output of books, articles, courses, and conference papers exploring the distinctly feminine side of literature—the unique consciousness, sensibility, and conflicts experienced by women and their dramatization in poetry, drama, and fiction—there is very little to set on the other side: little criticism, that is, that examines literature for what it reveals about the masculine experience. There have been stirrings of interest in the subject since August's article, which pointed out the curricular imbalance caused by "the widespread commitment to women's programs," argued for the need "to extend and reevaluate our knowledge of men and men's lives," and shared the fruits of his own efforts to redress the imbalance: the reading list for his course "Modern Men." But the tangible results of these stirrings remain miniscule beside the "dozen or more scholarly journals" and "probably some 60-80 books and hundreds of articles a year'' being published in England and America alone "about Literature by Women, Feminist Literary Theory, Women's Literary History, etc." In this paper I want to call attention to some troubling implications of the current imbalance, which I believe to be intellectually untenable, socially and sexually divisive, and even in some ways antithetical to the continued progress of women.



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