Bridget Cross

9 April 1998

English 341 - Gen & Sex

research proposal




primary text: The Lieutenant Nun, Catalina de Erauso


theoretical approach:

I want to focus on the approach of female aesthetics, in both the American and French schools. However, I want to examine them somewhat individually, as separate approaches and in some way, test them both on the primary text. By French school, I mean specifically the idea that the difference between men and woman is inherent in each sex's biology and that the differences in writing and language are a result of that primary contrast. By the American school, I men specifically the idea that the contrast between sexes is a function of social structures and influences. Both the schools advocate the rise of a female-based literary tradition, one whose texts are written in a language specific to the feminine and completely isolated from the male-dominated traditional literary language.


3 sources:



Cixous, Helene. "The Laugh of the Medusa" and "Sorties". New French Feminisms. University of Massachusetts Press. Amherst: 1980.

These essays explore the ideas behind the French female aesthetic and the need for female writing and the tradition which will come from writing wholly separate from the male tradition. "Sorties" explores writing seen as specific to women more directly.


Showalter, Elaine. A Literature of Their Own

This book explores the American school as it tries to tie together a somewhat female tradition that has been neglected in literature. By making these connections, Showalter seems to advocate a continuance of this tradition in directing women writers towards writing specific to their sex.


Dunn, Peter N. Spanish Picaresque Fiction. Cornell University Press. Ithaca: 1993.

I haven't really read much yet but the book seems to give light to the critical history of the picaresque genre as well as identify the new and current criticism.