Review by Choice Review
This reference work is a welcome addition to the rapidly expanding interest within Japanese studies, as well as more generally, in women writers. It contains substantial essays (six to nine pages long including short bibliographies) on 58 writers from the ninth century to the present. Generally characterized as a male-dominated society, Japan has had a healthy representation of prominent women writers throughout its history except during the Edo period (1603-1867), when a repressive government and commercially based literature essentially excluded women's participation in literary endeavors. Women treated in the volume are correctly designated as "mainstream writers," not falling into a subgenre of "women's literature." Though they provide historical context and biographical data, these biocritical essays focus primarily on literary achievement. The subjects of the essays have all received previous treatment in English in the form of translations and critical study. The book endeavors to kindle more general interest in Japanese women writers by listing all these sources and providing stimulating introductions to the authors. The Japan specialist and the novice alike can enjoy these essays. Mulhern's editing maintains consistency while not stifling the individuality of each of the 19 scholarly contributors. Upper-division undergraduate and above. R. G. Sewell; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.