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Listening to Silences: New Essays in Feminist Criticism

About the Author

Shelley Fisher Fishkin

Shelley Fisher Fishkin's broad, interdisciplinary research interests have led her to focus on topics including the ways in which American writers' apprenticeships in journalism shaped their poetry and fiction; the influence of African American voices on canonical American literature; the need to desegregate American literary studies; American theatre history; the development of feminist criticism; the relationship between public history and literary history; literature and animal welfare; the role  literature can play in the fight against racism; the place of humor and satire in movements for social justice; digital humanities; and the challenge of doing transnational American Studies....

Elaine Hedges
Oxford University Press
1994

Thirty years ago, in a lecture at the Radcliffe Institute, Tillie Olsen first addressed the problem of silences in literature--paving the way for future explorations of the subject, including her landmark work, Silences. The subject of silences and silencing--as fact, as trope, as lens through which to understand literary history--has been central to feminist criticism ever since.

In Listening to Silences, a group of distinguished feminist literary critics reevaluates Olsen's heritage to reassert, extend, redefine, and question her insights, and to probe the dynamics of silence and silencing as they operate today in literature, criticism, and the academy. The book traces for the first time the genealogy of an important American critical tradition, one that still influences contemporary debates about feminism, multiculturalism, and the literary canon.

Contributors to Listening to Silences include Kate Adams, Norma Alarcon, Joanne Braxton, Sharon Zuber, King-Kok Cheung, Constance Coiner, Robin Dizard, Shelley Fisher Fishkin, Diana Hume George, Elaine Hedges, Carla Kaplan, Patricia Laurence, Rebecca Mark, Diane Middlebrook, Carla L. Peterson, Lillian Robinson, Deborah Silverton Rosenfelt, Judith L. Sensibar, and Judith Bryant Wittenberg.