Mary's Miswriting: A Misreading of Frankenstein

The issue of the gender of the writer playing a crucial part in her or his writing has been much discussed in contemporary critical debate. Feminist critics argue that the patriarchal ideology of society makes it imperative for male writers to "write like men," implying a certain taken-for-granted viewpoint of the author. Of course, there are exceptions; a number of past male writers wrote like women. The last chapter of James Joyce's Ulysses, which contains a 20,000-word sentence beginning and ending with "yes," has often been hailed as a quintessential example of feminine writing. Similarly, different readers employ different perspectives to make sense of literary texts. Male readers, for example, tend to see literary texts from a male perspective. But do female readers also read the same texts from a definitely female perspective? Not exactly, because, as Judith Fetterley observes, male authors presumed for centuries that their readers all were male and this could have an enormous effect upon female readers, and in order to "successfully" read works of literature which presumed their readers to be male, female readers unconsciously have to forget they are female and to read as if they were...

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