In Writing Woman, Sheila Delany examines the artifact "woman" from a radical perspective. Each individual is seen by Delany as an "artifact"--made, not born --laboriously worked up, pieced together, written, and rewritten. Other qualities are added to this artifact through novels, poems, lyrics, ad copy, television scripts, nursery rhymes, and the English language itself. These layers of meaning result in the artifact--woman as topic.
Sheila Delany traces her own development as a radical thinker in the opening chapter "Confessions of an Ex-handkerchief Head, or Why This Is Not a Feminist Book." She discusses bourgeois women in medieval life and letters; womanliness, marriage, and misogyny in Chaucer; sex and politics in Pope's The Rape of the Lock; the feminist utopias of Charlotte P. Gilman and Marge Piercy; and--in considering woman as writer--the scene, or place, of writing in Christine de Pisan and Virginia Woolf.