A Feminist Theory Archive
in an essay she wrote in 2003, which reviewed feminist psy-
choanalytic literary criticism, Elizabeth Weed talked of the energy
and excitement, the sexual sparkle and the sheer pleasure—one might
even say the jouissance—one felt when encountering feminist writing
in the 1970s and 1980s. Citing Janet Malcolm’s 1987 New Yorker review
of In Dora’s Case: Freud, Hysteria, Feminism, Weed notes Malcolm’s
particular appreciation of the feminist writings in that collection.∞
is their emancipated tone, the transferential quality of their criticism
(they fantasize wildly and irreverently about the master theorists)
that delights Malcolm—and Weed, who notes: ‘‘One might even ar-
gue that it was the unabashedly transferential nature of early feminist
criticism more than its political character that opponents found dis-
concerting. At least until Harold Bloom’s ‘‘Anxiety of Influence,’’ even
literary criticism, probably the least detached of the critical disci-
plines, could perform its work at a reassuring remove. Academic
feminism changed that. This is not to say that all feminist criticism of
the seventies through the late eighties shone forth with an irresistible,
gleeful energy. But there was a general excitement in that early work.’’≤
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