"Those of us who joined together to produce this book represent over seventy-five years of feminist scholarship. We have seen and participated in one of the most important changes in the history of literary study ...There is a special joy in writing essays like these--essays that bring an entire career's worth of learning and thinking to bear on women, literature, and society."--from the Preface, by Paula R. Backscheider Revising Women is a collection of essays by a distinguished group of feminist critics. Each essay is a contribution to the history of the English novel and demonstrates the reactivation of texts, a kind of criticism that produces rich contextualization in order to reveal the story beneath--not only of the individual writer but also of a text that is a cultural production with the potential to reveal why we and our society are as we are. Each essay develops ways of using history in relation to literature, takes up large historical events and issues, and interprets in fine detail what individuals do with them.;The essays are characterized by informed historicizing, detailed textual explication, sophisticated feminist theory, and dedicated attention to the interrelationships between life and works and between everyday existence and political processes. The essays bring together a number of things often discussed separately or even opposed to one another. Among these are attention to the constructing power of sociohistorical forces and the individual creating writer and the works of male and female authors. The essays span more that 100 years, beginning with the fictions of the late seventeenth century and ending with Maria Edgeworth and Jane Austen.