“Violations as Profound as Any Rape”

Feminism and Sexed Violence in Stephen R. Donaldson

Extrapolation (2019), 60, (2), 133–156.


In the last few years, literary representations of sexed violence (sometimes known as “gender violence”) have been increasingly scrutinized. Such scrutiny has made some aspects in the work of Stephen R. Donaldson, who frequently employs rape as a theme, disquieting. This article attempts a critical intervention on Donaldson’s behalf. First, I situate Donaldson vis-à-vis his engagement with second wave radical feminism, particularly in terms of reinterpreting rape as a matter of power. Then I pose a number of postmodern feminist challenges to Donaldson’s two major epics, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever and the Gap sequence. Ultimately, I find that his core existential humanism nonetheless produces some valuable insights into the men who commit acts of sexed violence.

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Author details

Wise, Dennis Wilson