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As the author of popular literature and polemical pamphlets, Norton encountered various “optical” obstacles: for women, a visible presence in the competitive worlds of commercial publication or political disputation necessarily entailed criticism and controversy. The gendered values of modesty, reticence, and privacy conflicted with the self-advertisement associated with publication, a dilemma only partially mitigated by anonymous or pseudonymous authorship. To be a woman and a writer was to be doubly but dichotomously visible. Literary success might be pejoratively attributed to feminine beauty or wiles, on the one hand, or taken as unflattering evidence of a masculine nature, on the other. In either case, the woman writer was seen as a discredit to her sex, and the writings themselves were often not seen at all.
KeywordsWoman Writer Commercial Publication Political Disputation Sonal Visibility Great Ship
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- 3.John Fowles, The French Lieutenant’s Woman (New York: New American Library, 1969), 95.Google Scholar
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