If the author is 'dead' and feminism is 'post', why does the figure of the woman author keep appearing as a character in contemporary fiction? This original study shows how much life is left in the woman author and how for contemporary writers she is a figure of rich narrative interest and at the centre of political, aesthetic and ethical problems. She is concerned with ownership but, equally, with loss; determined to enter the cultural field but also rejecting that field; looking for control but subject to duplicity. Drawing on a diverse range of authors - including Margaret Atwood, A. S. Byatt, Anita Brookner, J. M. Coetzee, Alison Lurie, Michele Roberts, Carol Shields, Muriel Spark Fay Weldon, Alice Walker - Eagleton's study explores the complexity and continuing fascination of this figure. In so doing, she reaffirms the central importance of authorship within English studies and the way gender continues to impact.