The novel has often been the province of men, but there have always been female counterparts to challenge the domination of the novel by male writers. Some critics, such as Franco Moretti, suggest that literary history usually oscillates between domination of the novel form by either women or men. The success or failure of women writers has often depended on the popularity of particular genres. Fewer women writers have been published in eras in which the most popular genres are traditionally masculine novels with a military, nautical, or historical slant. In comparison, female novelists have sometimes been confined to writing about the domestic, provincial, and sensational. One of the challenges for women writers has been how to redefine or break out of conventional female genres.

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