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160 pages, Paperback
First published September 1, 1983
A mode of understanding life which willfully ignores so much can do so only at the peril of thoroughly distorting the rest. A mode of understanding literature which can ignore the private lives of half the human race is not "incomplete"; it is distorted through and through. Feminist criticism of the early 1970s began by pointing out the simplist of these distortions, that is, that the female characters of even our greatest realistic "classics" by male writers are often not individualized portraits of possible women, but creations of fear and desire.
To act in a way that is both sexist and racist, to maintain one's class privilege, it is only necessary to act in the customary, ordinary, usual, even polite manner.I haven't allowed Goodreads users to follow me for a while now. After years of letting the silent hundreds accumulate behind me out of some misguided belief that likes for my reviews was what I was all about, I figured out that generating free content for an unresponsive audience drains like nothing else. Even now, when I am far less interested in getting others to read what I read and far more in making them squirm, all I get through the friend requests is an interest in my reviews (without having engaged with any of them), a comment on my group's potential for advertising (without joining the group), some bullshit confabulation that attests more than anything to the common feeling of entitlement to content on the Internet that comes without a paywall. I've got it all laid out in my 'About Me', people. If it's apolitical Entertainment that you're looking for where I trundle along on my side of the bond and you don't do shit on the other: bye.
Motives for the dismissal differ: habit, laziness, reliance on history or criticism that is already corrupt, ignorance (the most excusable of all, surely), the desire not to disturb the comfort based on that ignorance (much less excusable), the dim (or not-so-dim) perception that one's self-esteem or sex-based interests are at stake, the desire to stay within an all-male, all-white club that is, whatever its drawbacks, familiar and comfortable, sometimes the clear perception that letting outsiders into the club, economically or otherwise, will disturb the structure of quid pro quo that keeps the club going.Either you know what I'm talking about with this review or you don't. Either you're going to make an effort to figure out what I'm talking about with this review or you won't. It's really quite simple. This book isn't a good place to start, and it most certainly is not the best place to find resolution, but in terms of midway points after you've read the Delany and the Villette and the Rich and the pre-1600 women's writing and the pre-1200 non-European women's writing and the Baldwin and the Hurston and have hardcore committed to expanding your handhold in the likes of this cause you will forever know that you know nothing, it's decent. Bits and pieces that the sort of mewlers and pukers that boycott the latest Star Wars movie for black people and send death threats to those building monuments in memory of women slaughtered for being feminists fear above all else are here, thirty-three years previous. The canon's a lie, but it's a hell of a lot easier to deal with those who demand you be their mother in every argument if you've got a nice sized tome with hundreds of citations and no shits given to stuff in various orifices.
[I]t becomes clear that a woman must be extraordinary to outlive her generation—and a man need not.Two major issues I have with this is the juxtaposition of the minutae of Middle Class White English with everyone else who's not a White Male and, as expected, flagrant use of the sanity card. For the first, if you're going to characterize your -centrism, do it before the second to last section of your rhetorical breakdown and the first time you pull in a person of color to support your theory without supporting them. The end section with your self-satisfied description of how much reading you did as a poor widdle white girl about the struggle of Women of Color is real cute, but in contrast to the professional sections of a new type of criticism it comes off as a hack job. Second, the sanity card jesus fuck. You feel the need to imply that all people who reinforce the white supremacist patriarchy belong in straitjackets? Fine. Stop fucking around with Plath. You need to use schizophrenia as your own personal metaphor of power? Fine. Look up some details about how the condition literally eats at your brain so you can really get a feel for the people you're boxing in as a trope for your own ignorant purposes. You want to appeal to fellow feminists by throwing mentally disabled people like me under the bus? Fine. All your followers are eugenicists, cause mental disabilities include the concept of "idiocy" as well as "crazy". Now: how far do you think your social justice is going to get?
The idea that any art is achieved "intuitively" is a dehumanization of the brains, effort, and the traditions of the artist, and a classification of said artist as subhuman.Good quote, piss poor execution. Nice cross referencing of all those British and American and Canadian types (Russ would be pleased to know about Munro's winning of the Nobel for Lit), bad attempt at being "inclusive". Excellent commentary on the academic side of things that'll come in handy when I set forth on my own in those calcified halls of criticism, bordering on grotesque clumping of everything wrong with the world in the box of "delusional" and "stupid". I recommend this to people who have already formed a stronghold of anti-imperialist/anti-tokenism/anti-ableist fronts that won't be swept away by all the quotes and name drops. Using this as a beginning isn't worth how much will have to be unpacked later on.
She didn’t write it.
She wrote it, but she shouldn’t have.
She wrote it, but look what she wrote about.
She wrote it, but ‘she’ isn’t really an artist and ‘it’ isn't really serious, of the right genre - i.e., really art.
She wrote it, but she only wrote one of it.
She wrote it, but it’s only interesting/included in the canon for one, limited reason.
She wrote it, but there are very few of her.
(Chapter 8. Anomalousness)
Me: What kind of books do you like?
Livy: Oh, well…. you know. Books about people.
Me: Can you think of any women characters in the books you read that you particularly like?
Livy: Oh, I never read books about women!
the availability of a vacant position in the culture… Dark Lady of American Letters… Miss McCarthy no longer occupied it …having been recently promoted to … Grande Dame. The next Dark Lady would have to be, like her, clever, learned, good-looking, capable of writing family- type criticism as well as fiction with a strong trace of naughtiness.”