Women Writers and Experimental Narratives: Early Modern to Contemporary

Kate Aughterson (Editor), Deborah Philips (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportBook - editedpeer-review


From Aphra Behn to Eimarr McBride, women writers have pushed genres, language and form in new directions but – apart from modernist and later twentieth-century writers very recently (Berry 2016; DeKoven; Mitchell, forthcoming) - their work has often been denigrated as ‘genre fiction’, rather than acknowledged as either ‘literary’ or experimental; or, if recognised as experimental, underestimated for that very reason. This gendered approach to literary history is here challenged both theoretically and historically through close contextualised readings of women writers over the past 350 years. The essays in this collection are all specially commissioned articles that trace a historical chain of avant-garde women writers across a range of different periods and genres. The collection ranges across case studies of women writers already canon-ised, marginalised voices and writers who have been dismissed for choosing to employ popular forms, ranging from the short fictions and translations of Aphra Behn, epistolatory and essay forms in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, through sensation novels, gothic and science fiction into contemporary experiments with the novel. The collection that experimentalism – whether formal, ideological, bodily or textual - allows writers to challenge and test assumptions about gender, race and sexuality.

This volume restricts itself to the writing of prose, because it is the first in a planned series of three volumes, with the two following to focus on women’s experimental writings in drama and poetry.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages300
ISBN (Print)9783030496500
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • women writers
  • experimentation
  • feminism


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