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.