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Women's life writings provide an incomparable window into the various cultural and historical communities in which we live. This book presents a unique view of this great legacy by critically examining how these writings both reflect and shape our communities. It draws on a wealth of material such as novels, memoirs, autobiographies, letters, religious records and many other sources, from many of the finest female writers in history. These writings enable insight into fields ranging from cultural studies and feminism, to postmodernism and new historicism. This volume was previously published as a special issue of the journal Prose Studies.