Can anyone recommend texts or books in which a feminist literary theory is applied?  I was asked to apply literary theory to various works of a writer. I need to see how its done. please help 

Expert Answers
Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Below I will copy a section of the enotes Study Guide on Feminist Literary Criticism, and completely tear it up (drastically edit it) to give you a list of names and works.  I strongly suggest you use the site itself, which I'll include in the sources.

Although individuals throughout the twentieth century have read from feminist perspectives—such as Virginia Woolf in A Room of One’s Own (1928) and Simone de Beauvoir in Le Deuxième Sexe (1949; The Second Sex, 1953)—feminist literary criticism in the United States,...did not develop until the late 1960’s....English professor Sandra M. Gilbert has explained that when she and Susan Gubar, the authors of The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (1979), began reading from a feminist perspective, they discovered that literary history was filled with assumptions about the sexes, a “sexual poetics” that judged women’s writing inferior to men’s.

From the beginning, feminist scholarship has been intensely personal and political. In an article for College English entitled “When We Dead Awaken” (1972), poet Adrienne Rich established the tone for feminist criticism when she called it a “radical critique of literature” which was for women “an act of survival.” A few years later, Judith Fetterley, author of The Resisting Reader: A Feminist Approach to American Fiction (1978), said that the aim of feminist criticism was to change the world “by changing the consciousness of those who read and their relation to what they read.”

Published in 1970, Kate Millett’s Sexual Politics, a pioneering work in American feminist literary criticism that critiques the literature of Henry Miller, Norman Mailer, and D. H. Lawrence and argues that their characterizations of women reflect society’s misogyny, set the stage for the “re-visionary” practice of feminist readings.

That's a little longer than I was hoping for, but some of the major details about feminist criticism are included, and some of the key names and works.  Beauvoir's works are translated into English, by the way. 

This is not a complete list, but basically you want to apply the following to whatever work you're studying:

  • the gender of the writer, and how this effects the work
  • the roles women have in the work
  • how are women presented in the work:  do they have value in themselves or are they dependent on the males in the work?
  • what does the work reveal about the prevailing attitudes toward women in the society the book was written in?