A merica has long seen itself and been seen as a male under-taking. The archetypal American, whether a Puritan settler, a revolutionary Patriot, a Robber Baron, cowboy or twentieth-century cor-

porate wheeler-dealer, has almost always been portrayed as male. American

history has similarly been seen through male eyes. The American literary

canon has also frequently been defined as masculine, sometimes aggressively

anti-feminine, with women, if they are featured at all, being marginalised.