Here Come the Brides!: Reflections on Lesbian Love and Marriage: Audrey Bilger, Michele Kort (Seal Press)

Marriage today isn’t what it used to be: for better, not for worse. As same-sex weddings are becoming more common, the classic love-story happy ending is taking on a decidedly new twist, everyone has a fresh role to play, and supporters and opponents of gay marriage alike are finding themselves in the midst of a revolution that’s redefining marriage—both as a personal choice and as an institution—as we know it.

Jane Collier's Essay on the Art of Ingeniously Tormenting, Broadview Literary Texts

Perhaps the first extended non-fiction prose satire written by an English woman, Jane Collier's An Essay on the Art of Ingeniously Tormenting (1753) is a wickedly satirical send-up of eighteenth-century advice manuals and educational tracts. It takes the form of a mock advice manual in which the speaker instructs her readers in the arts of tormenting, offering advice on how to torment servants, humble companions and spouses, and on how to bring one's children up to be a torment to others. The work's satirical style, which focuses on the different kinds of power that individuals exercise over one another, follows in the footsteps of Jonathan Swift and paves the way for Jane Austen.

Laughing Feminism: Subversive Comedy in Frances Burney, Maria Edgeworth, and Jane Austen (Wayne State University Press)

Laughing Feminism focuses on comedy in the works of Frances Burney, Maria Edgeworth, and Jane Austen, authors who scrutinized the subjected prejudices against women in order to expose their absurdity and encourage readers to laugh at the folly of sexist views. Audrey Bilger shows that these women writers employed a full arsenal of comic weapons such as satire, burlesque, and parody to combat patriarchal nonsense and make comedy out of the discrepancies between the myth and reality of womanhood. Bilger draws on current feminist criticism, comic theory, and the methodologies of literary history to provide a context for re-assessing the novels of these writers. At a time when overt feminist statements could ruin a woman's reputation, comedy enabled these authors to smuggle feminism into their writing.