Louisiana Women Writers: New Essays and a Comprehensive Bibliography edited by Dorothy H. Brown and Barbara C. Ewell (review)

Louisiana Women Writers: New Essays and a Comprehensive Bibliography edited by Dorothy H. Brown and Barbara C. Ewell (Louisiana State University Press, 1992)

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Louisiana Women Writers: New Essays and a Comprehensive Bibliography edited by Dorothy H. Brown and Barbara C. Ewell (review)

by Margaret M. Geddy
Southern Cultures, Vol. 1, No. 3: Spring 1995

Louisiana State University Press, 1992

Louisiana Women Writers is a commendable, albeit problematic, contribution to the existing scholarship on southern women writers. Although the exhaustive bibliography (admirably remedying a fifty-year gap in Louisiana’s bibliographic history) is both fascinating and highly readable, the biographical and critical essays are uneven, and several are too esoteric to be included in a volume more clearly designed to discover and recover than to specialize and speculate. However, the text is still worthy of scrutiny since it succeeds in offering glimpses into both the minds and literary heritage of Louisiana women. In a solid introduction Barbara Ewell clearly defines how the “marginal experiences” of place, particularly Louisiana, and gender, specifically southern womanhood, intersect and significantly influence not only what these women write about but also how their writing as “Other” (outside the northern, predominately male mainstream) distinguishes their position in Louisiana literary history and contributes to Louisiana’s (and New Orleans’s) place in the American literary imagination.