“A very queer and composite being thus emerges. Imaginatively she is of the highest importance; practically she is completely insignificant. She pervades poetry from cover to cover; she is all but absent from history.”
There is a strange tension in the course of female affairs: on the one account, they are embraced in the field of art and literature. Yet, on a competing account, they are left out of positions relating to power. To resolve this tension, the crucial similarity is the presence of power-relations. Even when “glorified” in poetry, women are always the subjects, never the producers. Women are to be controlled, framed, and written about by men. In effect, there is a loss of agency. This is seen, perhaps more obviously, in history. As an attempt to secure power, men ensured that women could not access the “bastions” of civil-society.