"No Man's Land" by Sandra M. Gilbert

No Man's Land The Place of the Woman Writer in the Twentieth Century, Volume 1: The War of the Words Sandra M. Gilbert, Susan Gubar

Publication date:
10 Sep 1989
Yale University Press
336 pages: 235 x 156mm
Sales territories:

The first book in a landmark three-volume work that brings feminist theory to bear on modern literature in English. Focusing on both male and female writers, Gilbert and Gubar here survey social, literary, and linguistic conflicts between the sexes as revealed in texts by nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers from Tennyson to Woolf, from Hemingway to Plath.
"An exciting and ground-breaking work."—Carolyn Heilbrun, Columbia University
"Fast, funny, profound in its theoretical assertions, and deliciously irreverent in its asides. Male readers and critics will ignore it at their own peril."—Joyce Carol Oates
"Should be welcomed both by contemporary women readers and by anyone who has had the experience of modernism but wondered about its meanings."—Christine Froula, New York Times Book Review
"No Man’s Land will surely rewrite the history of modernism."—Maureen Corrigan, Village Voice
"No Man’s Land promises to be as crucial for our understanding of 20th-century literature as The Madwoman in the Attic has been for our understanding of 19th-century literature."—Clare Hanson, Times Higher Education Supplement

"An exciting and ground-breaking work."?Carolyn Heilbrun, Columbia University                       

"No Man's Land, like The Madwoman in the Attic, is a radical re-presentation of the legends our literary fathers 'taught' us in school. It is fast, funny, profound in its theoretical assertions, and deliciously irreverent in its asides. Male readers and critics will ignore it at their own peril." ?Joyce Carol Oates

"Gilbert and Gubar have done it again!  Written with the ambitious range, scholarly passion, and intellectual panache we have come to expect from this extraordinary critical duo, No Man's Land will be as indispensable for the study of twentieth-century literature as The Madwoman in the Attic has been for the nineteenth century." ?Elaine Showalter

"In this challenging new book, Gilbert and Gubar rewrite the history of modernism, as The Madwoman in the Attic rewrote the history of nineteenth-century English literature. The rewriting traces the role of anxious male chauvinism and of the war between the sexes in the development of modernism." ?J. Hillis Miller

"Gilbert and Gubar continue to apply their gender-based method of historical criticism to English and American literature. . . . The critics identify a twentieth-century version of the ancient battle of the sexes; relate this war of words to feminism, modernism, and experimental language;  and trace a matrilineage descending from the Brontes through Emily Dickinson to Sylvia Plath."?Booklist

"The authors . . . outline the terrain of a comprehensive literary and historical study."?Library Journal

"No Man's Land will surely rewrite the history of modernism." ?Maureen Corrigan, Village Voice

"As a piece of criticism that will enhance and enlarge the way this century's literature is taught and interpreted. No Man's Land is invaluable."?Jeffrey Ann Goudie, Kansas City Star

"Examines with gusto and good humor the effects of women writing-even more than women's writings-on late nineteenth- and twentieth-century American and English literature, and on how the literary battle of the sexes was fired by feminism and the quest for equality."?Jim Kobak, Kirkus Reviews

"A thoroughly provocative revisioning of the genesis of modernism."?Janice Kulyk Keefer, Toronto Globe & Mail

"Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, writing with intelligence, daring and feeling, have admirably fulfilled their aims in this book, which should be welcomed both by contemporary women readers and by anyone who has had the experience of modernism but wondered about its meanings."?Christine Froula, New York Times Book Review

"No Man's Land promises to be as crucial for our understanding of twentieth-century literature as The Madwoman in the Attic has been for our understanding of nineteenth-century literature. It represents an extraordinary undertaking, as Gilbert and Gubar review a whole century of writing and, more important, question the myths about that writing."?Clare Hanson, Times Higher Education Supplement

"Gilbert and Gubar demonstrate, through a variety of texts and analytical approaches, from close readings to impressionistic tapestries of interpretation, that from D.H. Lawrence to Jacques Derrida male writers and critics have attempted to define and control the very nature of language in order to define and control the nature and power of the female."?Choice

"A book whose merits demand full recognition. . . . An absorbing read. An invaluable guide-map through the shell-craters of Modernism"?Martha Banta, American Literature

"This first volume of No Man's Land offers intelligent readings of modernist texts and organizes them into a convincing 'metastory, a story of stories about gender strife' in the modern period. . . . An important, enjoyable feminist rereading of the themes and motivations in the modern period."?Bowling Green News

"The cumulative effect of these summaries and commentaries is to illustrate, absolutely and convincingly, the evolving dialogue between the sexes, and to deconstruct both the literary canon and canonical ways of reading. Further, their discussion of modernism is utterly absorbing, as is their depiction of the female writer's complex relationship to her own female precursors."?Ann Murphy, Kritikon Litterarum

"Gilbert and Gubar stunningly critique both the Lacanian and traditional Freudian analysis of women, ably discuss the female affiliation complex, and draw on fantasy and science fiction for suggestive ideas on the "mother tongue.". . . The War of the Words gives us important work to debate, discuss, savor, reread."?Maggie McFadden, Belles Lettres

"An important feminist rereading of the themes and motivations in the modern period."?Alice Templeton, South Atlantic Review

"A brilliant, provocative, and important book, essential reading for students of literature and social history and for anyone fascinated by the relations between women and men."?Carolyn Wilkerson Bell, Magill's Literary Annual 1989

"For the battle they wage in this war of the words, Gilbert and Gubar have come fully armed with passionate conviction, mother wit, and multitudinous examples. In short, No Man's Land is a delightfully worthy entrant on the critical field of battle, certain to inspire vigorous debate wherever it is read."?Katherine Fishburn, Studies in the Novel

"It is a commanding and far-reaching book. . . . It rethinks literary history. . . . The War of the Words will be important reading for students of nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature in English, as well as for feminist critics and theorists. It revises our notions of what is modern about the modern period, insisting on the centrality of sex conflict."?Ann W. Fisher-Wirth, Critical Texts

"If The War of the Words is any indication, once all of the critical trilogy No Man's Land is in print, Gilbert and Gubar will have established themselves for the foreseeable future as the two individuals who have done the most to resurrect and examine what they regard as the forgotten central factor in the growth and development of literature in the English-speaking world:  the battle of the sexes. . . . An imaginative, well-researched, thoughtful study that does much to illuminate the impact of the rise of feminism on modern literature. It is a major undertaking?and a major achievement."?Alice Hall Petry, Southern Humanities Review

"Wide-ranging, forthrightly feminist, and often funny, readers interested in popular culture as well as literature will like it."?Feminist Bookstore News

"Exhaustive. . . . The book builds a provocative depiction of the battle of the sexes as found on the pages of popular magazines and in literary and critical works. The authors are skillful and erudite interpreters of the literary imagination and delve into their immense store of allusions to myth, allegory, and social history in their analyses. The span of secondary sources alluded to is breathtaking. . . . The final chapter on sexual linguistics delivers a thorough and virtually tour-de-force analysis. . . . Overwhelming in its breadth and depth, and in years to come it will no doubt provide the jumping-off place for scores of dissertations and other studies."?Rita D. Jacobs, World Literature Today