Judith Fetterley

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Judith Fetterley (born 1938) is a literary scholar known for her work in feminism and women's studies. She was influential in leading a reappraisal of women's literature of the 19th and 20th centuries, and the contributions of women writing about women's experience, including their perspectives on men in the world.

Early life and family[edit]

Judith Fetterley was born in New York City, New York, although she was raised in Toronto, Canada for several years. Her family moved to Franklin, Indiana when she was ten. She studied in public schools, then earned her B.A. degree at Swarthmore College. She did graduate work at Indiana University, where she earned her Ph.D. in English in 1969.


Fetterley began her academic career at the University of Pennsylvania, where she taught from 1967 to 1973. She moved to the State University of New York at Albany, New York. She is currently a professor of English and women's studies at SUNY Albany.

Fetterley helped formulate the concept of resistant reading in her 1978 book, The Resisting Reader: A Feminist Approach to American Fiction. In addition, she led a reappraisal of women's literature of the 19th century and the American canon. She pointed out that American literature had been defined as about men and by men, thus excluding half of the world: women's experience and perspective.



  • David H. Richter, ed., The Critical Tradition: Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends, 3rd ed., Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2007.
  • The University at Albany, State University of New York Faculty Website