University of Mississippi

Aesthetics and Gender in American Literature

by Deborah Barker
This study demonstrates how popular women writers used the female visual artist as their alter ego to renegotiate the boundaries between high and low culture. The figure of the professional woman painter allowed women writers to critique the dominant aesthetic and scientific theories that categorized women and an ethnically configured lower class as artistically and intellectually inferior to an elite, male-defined figure of the Romantic artist-as-genius. Illustrated.