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Women and Literature in the Goethe Era 1770-1820Determined Dilettantes$
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Helen Fronius

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199210923

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199210923.001.0001

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‘Über die Begierde der Weiber, Schriftstellerei zu treiben’: 1 Authorship and Gender

‘Über die Begierde der Weiber, Schriftstellerei zu treiben’: 1 Authorship and Gender

(p.53) 2 ‘Über die Begierde der Weiber, Schriftstellerei zu treiben’:1 Authorship and Gender
Women and Literature in the Goethe Era 1770-1820


Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the intersection of gender discourses and concepts of authorship in Germany. It asks three questions. First, how were definitions of femininity used in the criticism of women authors? Second, to what extent was the discourse internally consistent? Third, to what extent was it challenged? The intellectual context in which women wrote influenced both their self-image, and their professional practices. Male writers and reviewers have been regarded by feminist scholarship as exerting a kind of ‘gender censorship’ through the construction of models of authorship, excluding women a priori. However, these restrictions were undermined by a continuing ambiguity in the debate about women writers, and by the increasing numbers of women who entered the literary market despite these prohibitions — not infrequently with the help of precisely those men keen to keep them out. The chapter also looks at the aesthetic objections of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller to female authorship.

Keywords:   gender, authorship, femininity, criticism, self-image, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller

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