“Goldfinching” and the authority of readers

Gender & Authority

“Dismissing popular things that women like doesn’t require some special kind of bravery. It happens all day, every day – especially in literary criticism”

Jennifer Weiner’s recent piece in the Guardian has been gaining significant traction on Twitter, Facebook, et al, speaking, it seems, to  a common experience of readership, one which in turn resonates deeply with the questions of gender, authority, cultural production and consumption that we’re interested in discussing at “Women and the Canon”. Focussing in particular on Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch and Hana Yangihara’s A Little Life, Weiner coins the term “Goldfinching” to account for a critical turning on previously accoladed, now popularly successful (usually woman-authored) books. She looks at gender-coded language and critique in “against-the-flow” negative reviews of these popular, prize-winning books as part of a phenomenon of at-heart misogynist cultural practice that aims to devalue texts which “risk” over-feminsing the cultural high-ground reserved for “proper…

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