The connections between genre and gender are one of the most fruitful areas of investigation to have emerged from the feminist revolution in literary studies. Although attention was focused initially on the figure of the female author and the cultural conditions of reading and writing, it was inevitable that questions of genre would start to loom large as feminist critics undertook the task of rewriting the history of literature, and rethinking literary theory, from the perspective of women. The etymological connection between the words 'genre' and 'gender' provided further stimulus, if only symbolic, and the pairing of these two terms has occurred frequently in the title of books and articles published in the last two decades. Explaining exactly how these two concepts interrelate, or establishing clear criteria by which a genre might be said to be 'gendered' has, however, proved more difficult. Even where reliable statistical data are available, the numerical predominance of either sex among the practitioners or consumers of a particular genre need not imply any essential affinity, since many other factors may be operative. Other kinds of evidence raise other methodological problems, and one of the current challenges of feminist genre theory is to define these problems and refine its methodology. Mary Eagleton'S incisive essay is a helpful contribution to this process. Originally published in an anthology of criticism on the short story, the essay offers a critical survey of previous work in the field, seeking 'to demarcate some of the main areas in feminist analysis of genre', while also proposing future lines of inquiry. Her immediate concern is the short story, but she also discusses a range of other genres, including the one which has received by far the most attention from feminist scholars: the novel.