Issues of women’s identity in Western literature concern the fictional identity (characterization) of women in literary works versus the “real” identity (literal role) assigned women in the actual historical period of the plot. “Western literature” refers to the works of writers in Europe, Canada, and the United States; these works trace their literary heritage to classical Greek and Roman myths. Western fiction—from Greek and Roman mythmaking until the nineteenth century—was generally written by men. Twentieth century feminist scholarship seeks...
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