Well, I guess this blog is dedicated to the discussion of Woolf’s notion of ‘women’s writing tradition’ and Audrey’s concept of ‘the master’s tools.’
In response to Woolf’s notion I think women do indeed have a writing tradition and it is not anything to be ashamed of or held in contempt. Women, it seems to me, have traditionally published work that falls into one of two categories: “appropriate” subject matter that will not tarnish their repuation as a chaste lady, or non-conformists who were looking to create controversy by writing about “worthy” topics (such as Behn and her play The Rover).
The traditional women wrote journals, translations, poems relating to religion, and so on. I use the word ‘traditional’ in the nicest sense and do not mean that because they stayed within the constrains of feminism of the time that they are any less of a writer. On the contrary, I believe these women basically created the tradition of women as writers because they demonstrate what it was like to be good,appropriate women during the time which they lived. This is so important because it gives modern readers a sense of what they were like as human beings not just writers. And, it creates tradition because as we look back over the material we covered we can see that these types of work keep appearing; women have always wanted to be seen as upstanding citizens for centuries. On that note, I think it could be argued men have a writing tradition too. Perhaps their topics cover more range of subjects but that is only because it has always been appropriate for them to do so.
Women who fall into the second category I mentioned seem to be present in the latter half of the course, from the 17th century onward. Now, I believe it entirely probable that there were women before this time who wrote non-conformist material but I will strictly follow the works we explored throughout this course. So, although these controversial women writers appear a bit later I think that they contribute to tradition too. They contribute because they show that women do not all play by the rules and think solely about religion, family and uprighteousness. They show that women are capable of thinking for themselves and challenging the norms of society and how women are/should be viewed.
Basically, when I think of women writers these two justapositions come to my mind and to me that means that women have a tradition. This is because when I pick up a piece of work by a woman writer from any of the time periods we have studied in this class I know pretty much what to expect. That is tradition isn’t it?
Regarding Audrey’s concept I think that women most certainly affected the writing world! Usually, when women published a piece of work it got talked about, ripped apart (literally?), condemned, and puzzled over by men. This is polarity. These works did not just go un-noticed; no one was just neutral. Therefore, even if it was bad attention women writers received (and we know this is not the case) they caused discussion and therefore impacted the writing world they lived in. So, perhaps women did not use writing the same way men did and it’s true some women writers are no where near as good as some men writers but, they learned to use the tools and create something in their own image. This image has obviously lasted throughout the centuries so I would say women most definitely affected the literate world.