Feminist Criticism Concepts

Svitlana Kryvoruchko


In the 20th century in the 90s they started to apply actively the features of feminist criticism which were formed in American and European theoretical branches in the middle of the 20th century under the strong influence of Simone de Beauvoir’s existential point of view of a woman as a historical phenomenon to the analyses of female artistic images in the Ukrainian literary studies. The representatives of this literary school believe that female image in literature is a role model and presents a way of “socialization”. However it must be remembered that an artistic image is a fiction which does not correlate directly with reality, but is only an imitation, thus there lies its “conventionality”. “Conventionality” opens nonidentity of female images in literature and their prototypes in life. R. Jakobson differentiates “primary” and “secondary” “conventionality”. “Primary” conventionality is realistic as it reflects reality. R. Jakobson disproves the theories that defend the practice of plausibility and talks about “secondary” “conventionality”. “Secondary conventionality” destroys plausibility when it recombines the system of characters and displays creativity beyond the limits of the possible. In this case the “socialization” is expressed in the way that a literary work “tells” about the character’s formation when he\she implements cultural norms and social values. The “socialization” is determined by the influence of society on emotions of literary heroes that encourages them to reflection, reveals them not only as the objects, but as the subjects of an active action aimed at social realities. In the works by S. de Beauvoir the principle of “socialization” determines reference to “secondary” “conventionality” and opens the prospect for the object’s / subject’s development. The active “action” of subjects happens the real existence of the individual when he\she tries to know him or herself. “Feminine” is the transcendental (“secondary conditional”) unlike “female” and “feminist” which seems “real” (“social” “conditional-primary”). The aim of feminist criticism is to research female characters in male and female literature in order to reevaluate the experience, reconsider the literary canon, return from oblivion the texts written by women. Its representatives give special attention to the study of power relations that demonstrate the extent of patriarchy in one or the other culture, in order to destroy this patriarchy. 


feminist criticism; artistic image; archetype; heroine; “feminine”; “female”; “feminist”


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Pytannia literaturoznavstva
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