Recent scientific findings regarding the potential dangers associated with hormone replacement therapies bring renewed attention to the relationship between women's bodies and gender identity. In Am I Still A Woman? Jean Elson offers the testimony of women who have thought deeply about this issue as a result of gynecological surgery. For the women in this book, gynecological surgery for benign conditions proved to be a crisis that prompted questions about the meanings of sexual and reproductive organs in relation to being female and feminine. Is a woman who no longer menstruates still a woman? What about a woman who can no longer bear children? Elson looks closely at the differences in responses to understand the impact of surgery and lost fertility on sexuality and partnerships as well as the steps some women take to deal with a sense of a stigmatized identity. Whether they reconceptualized their old notions of what it means to be a woman or put a new focus on making themselves attractive, they made conscious efforts to reclaim their female identity and femininity. This book provides a wealth of insight into the choices women make regarding gynecological surgery and maintaining their sense of themselves as women.
A comprehensive biography of an exemplary woman, this book tells the story of Annie Adams Fields (1834–1915), one of the leading figures in nineteenth-century Boston's cultural circles. Although often defined in terms of her famous husband, publisher James T. Fields of Ticknor & Fields, she was, as this book demonstrates, a person of significant intellectual and social accomplishments in her own right. After Fields entered her remarkable companionate marriage at age twenty, she was welcomed into friendship by such eminent writers as Emerson, Longfellow, Hawthorne, and Dickens. But it was not simply as a dutiful wife that she invited Emerson to lecture to a group of friends in the library of her home, or did literary research for Harriet Beecher Stowe, or advised her husband on submissions to the Atlantic Monthly. As Rita K. Gollin shows, Fields also pursued her own imperatives of self-fulfillment and service to others. A published poet, essayist, and novelist, she also wrote dozens of biographies of famous writers she had known. She founded innovative charities for Boston's poor and campaigned for women's issues, including the right to vote and to be admitted to medical schools. These pursuits continued after she was widowed in 1881 and began a loving partnership with Sarah Orne Jewett—a "Boston marriage" that ended only with Jewett's death in 1909. A shrewd nurturer of many women writers—Rebecca Harding Davis, Lucy Larcom, and Willa Cather among them—and the trusted friend of many illustrious men, Fields learned to move vigorously within the public sphere without violating traditional proprieties-as a woman, as an effective social reformer, and as a writer with wares to promote in the burgeoning literary marketplace. Fields emerges from this thoroughly researched and highly readable work as a woman who both absorbed and challenged the sometimes conflicting values of her time, gender, and class.
Arms and the Woman: Classical Tradition and Women Writers in the Venetian Renaissance by Francesca D’Alessandro Behr focuses on the classical reception in the works of female authors active in Venice during the Early Modern Age. Even in this relatively liberal city, women had restricted access to education and were subject to deep-seated cultural prejudices, but those who read and wrote were able, in part, to overcome those limitations.
In this study, Behr explores the work of Moderata Fonte and Lucrezia Marinella and demonstrates how they used knowledge of texts by Virgil, Ovid, and Aristotle to systematically reanalyze the biased patterns apparent both in the romance epic genre and contemporary society. Whereas these classical texts were normally used to bolster the belief in female inferiority and the status quo, Fonte and Marinella used them to envision societies structured according to new, egalitarian ethics. Reflecting on the humanist representation of virtue, Fonte and Marinella insisted on the importance of peace, mercy, and education for women. These authors took up the theme of the equality of genders and participated in the Renaissance querelle des femmes, promoting women’s capabilities and nature.
The great Arab singer Asmahan was the toast of Cairo song and cinema in the late 1930s and early 1940s, as World War II approached. She remained a figure of glamour and intrigue throughout her life and lives on today in legend as one of the shaping forces in the development of Egyptian popular culture. In this biography, author Sherifa Zuhur does a thorough study of the music and film of Asmahan and her historical setting. A Druze princess actually named Amal al-Atrash, Asmahan came from an important clan in the mountains of Syria but broke free from her traditional family background, left her husband, and became a public performer, a role frowned upon for women of the time. This unique biography of the controversial Asmahan focuses on her public as well as her private life. She was a much sought-after guest in the homes of Egypt's rich and famous, but she was also rumored to be an agent for the Allied forces during World War II. Through the story of Asmahan, the reader glimpses not only aspects of the cultural and political history of Egypt and Syria between the two world wars, but also the change in attitude in the Arab world toward women as public performers on stage. Life in wartime Cairo comes alive in this illustrated account of one of the great singers of the Arab world, a woman who played an important role in history. Sherifa Zuhur is Visiting Research Scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies atthe University of California, Berkeley.
In this illuminating work, surveying 300 years and two nations, Sarah Gwyneth Ross demonstrates how the expanding ranks of learned women in the Renaissance era presented the first significant challenge to the traditional definition of “woman” in the West.
An experiment in collective biography and intellectual history, The Birth of Feminism focuses on nineteen learned women from the middle ranks of society who rose to prominence in the world of Italian and English letters between 1400 and 1680. Drawing both on archival material—wills, letters, and manuscript compositions, some presented here for the first time—and on printed writings, Ross gives us an unprecedented sense of educated early modern women’s lives.
Sponsored and often educated by their learned fathers and other male relatives within a model that Ross terms “the intellectual family,” female authors publicized their works within the safety of family networks. These women, including Christine de Pizan, Laura Cereta, Margaret More Roper, Lucrezia Marinella, and Bathsua Makin, did not argue for women’s political equality, but they represented and often advocated women’s intellectual equality. Ross demonstrates that because of their education, these women had a renaissance during the Renaissance, and that in so doing they laid the foundation for the emancipation of womankind.
Before the Great Smoky Mountains became a national park, the region was a lush wilderness dotted with isolated farms. Into this land of unspoiled beauty, Dorie Woodruff Cope was born in 1899. In this evocative memoir, Dorie's daughter, Florence Cope Bush, traces a life at once extraordinary and yet typical of the many Appalachian farm families forced to leave their simple mountain homes for the cities; abandoning traditional ways for those born of "progress."
Dorie's story begins with her childhood on an isolated mountain farm, where we see first hand how her parents combined back-breaking labor with intense personal pride to produce everything their family needed—from food and clothing to tools and toys—from the land. Lumber companies began to invade the mountains, and Dorie's family took advantage of the financial opportunities offered by the lumber industry, not realizing that in giving up their lands they were also letting go of a way of life. Along with their machinery, the lumber companies brought in many young men, one of whom, Fred Cope, became Dorie's husband. After the lumber companies stripped the mountains of their timber, outsiders set the area aside as a national park, requiring Dorie, now married with a family of her own, to move outside of her beloved mountains.
Through Dorie's eyes, we see how the mountain farmers were forced to abandon their beloved rural life-style and customs and assimilate into cities like Knoxville, Tennessee. Her experiences were shared by hundreds of Appalachians during the early twentieth century. However, Dorie's perseverance, strength of character, and deep love of the Smokies make this a unique and moving narrative.
The Author: Florence Cope Bush is a former newspaper reporter and freelance writer in Knoxville, Tennessee. She is the author of Ocona Lufte Baptist—Pioneer Church of the Smokies, and a regular contributor to Smoky Mountain Historical Society publications.
Durwood Dunn is professor history at Tennessee Wesleyan College. He is author of Cades Cove: The Life and Death of a Southern Appalachian Community, 1818-1937.
En-Gendering India offers an innovative interpretation of the role that gender played in defining the Indian state during both the colonial and postcolonial eras. Focusing on both British and Indian literary texts—primarily novels—produced between 1857 and 1947, Sangeeta Ray examines representations of "native" Indian women and shows how these representations were deployed to advance notions of Indian self-rule as well as to defend British imperialism. Through her readings of works by writers including Bankimchandra Chatterjee, Rabindranath Tagore, Harriet Martineau, Flora Annie Steel, Anita Desai, and Bapsi Sidhaa, Ray demonstrates that Indian women were presented as upper class and Hindu, an idealization that paradoxically served the needs of both colonial and nationalist discourses. The Indian nation’s goal of self-rule was expected to enable women’s full participation in private and public life. On the other hand, British colonial officials rendered themselves the protectors of passive Indian women against their “savage” male countrymen. Ray shows how the native woman thus became a symbol for both an incipient Indian nation and a fading British Empire. In addition, she reveals how the figure of the upper-class Hindu woman created divisions with the nationalist movement itself by underscoring caste, communal, and religious differences within the newly emerging state. As such, Ray’s study has important implications for discussions about nationalism, particularly those that address the concepts of identity and nationalism. Building on recent scholarship in feminism and postcolonial studies, En-Gendering India will be of interest to scholars in those fields as well as to specialists in nationalism and nation-building and in Victorian, colonial, and postcolonial literature and culture.
Eva Perón, one of the most powerful women in the world at the time of her death in 1952, rose from humble origins to international renown as First Lady of Argentina and the force behind the throne of her husband Juan Perón. Despite her immense popularity, she was inaccessible to the people of Argentina, and so images were constructed around her to fill that void. According to Julie M. Taylor, these "myths" around Eva Perón reflect Argentine culture and political history at the time of her seven-year reign. With a brief biography of Eva Perón serving as a backdrop, Taylor offers a detailed analysis of the principle myths that grew around this enigmatic woman.
"Taylor shows that she is remembered by different classes and political factions as saint, a revolutionary, or a whore, depending on whether she was interpreted as an embodiment or as a violation of the Argentine feminine ideal."—Booklist
"Highly commendable . . . it deliberately eschews the sensationalism that characterizes earlier [biographies]. . . . Taylor instead concentrates on the myths that have lingered since her death. . . . [This book] transcends biography."—Gentlemen's Quarterly
"[A] concise and brilliant examination of the legends that arose in Argentina during the lifetime . . . of a woman who broke with Argentine tradition and became a political figure in her own right."—New Yorker
"Fortune is a woman, and if you want to keep her under, you've got to knock her around some."—Niccolò Machiavelli
Hanna Pitkin's provocative and enduring study of Machiavelli was the first to systematically place gender at the center of its exploration of his political thought. In this edition, Pitkin adds a new afterword, in which she discusses the book's critical reception and situates the book's arguments in the context of recent interpretations of Machiavelli's thought.
"A close and often brilliant exegesis of Machiavelli's writings."—The American Political Science Review
In Freudian Slips: Woman, Writing, the Foreign Tongue, Mary Gossy provides an original and provocative critique of language, sexuality, and the female body in Freud's The Psychopathology of Everyday Life.
Gossy believes that Freud's most popular statement of a theory of the unconscious is written over foreign and feminized texts, bodies, and places, by way of anecdotes that range from the Dora case to menstruation to travel phobias. Freudian Slips: Woman, Writing, the Foreign Tongue does a feminist psychoanalytic reading of Freud's book and shows how slippery- textually, erotically, and historically- the writing of theory can be, and also how much we can learn from our slips when we are willing to admit that we have made them.
Bringing together autobiography, psychoanalysis, close readings, pedagogy, and politics in provocative and innovative ways, Gossy discusses Freud's work from both textual and theoretical perspectives and asks what his writing can teach us about authority, theory, home, and the foreign. Arguing that the dominant metaphor in the Psychopathology is that of the female body as foreign text, and that this body, writing, and the foreign tongue are identified with a feminized unconscious that threatens authoritative discourse, Freudian Slips moves toward fashioning a feminist theory that is both "slippery and (para)practical" and constantly searches for ways of writing theory that free, rather than sacrifice, the bodies of women.
"The readings of individual slips are often highly productive; the argument is both hardworking and playful. Freudian Slips is a book that people will enjoy reading and from which they will learn a great deal."-- Helena Michie, Rice University
Mary S. Gossy is Associate Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature, Rutgers University. She is the author of The Untold Story: Women and Theory in Golden Age Texts.
Winner of the first annual Robert Colby Scholarly Book Prize
Rosamund Marriott Watson was a gifted poet, an erudite literary and art critic, and a daring beauty whose life illuminates fin-de-siècle London and the way in which literary reputations are made—and lost. A participant in aestheticism and decadence, she wrote six volumes of poems noted for their subtle cadence, diction, and uncanny effects. Linda K. Hughes unfolds a complex life in Graham R.: Rosamund Marriott Watson, Woman of Letters, tracing the poet’s development from accomplished ballads and sonnets, to avant-garde urban impressionism and New Woman poetry, to her anticipation of literary modernism.
Despite an early first divorce, she won fame writing under a pseudonym, Graham R. Tomson. The influential Andrew Lang announced the arrival of a new poet he assumed to be a man. She was soon hosting a salon attended by Lang, Oscar Wilde, and other 1890s notables. Publishing to widespread praise as Graham R., she exemplified the complex cultural politics of her era. A woman with a man’s name and a scandalous past, she was also a graceful beauty who captivated Thomas Hardy and left an impression on his work. At the height of her success she fell in love with writer H. B. Marriott Watson and dared a second divorce.
Graham R. combines the stories of a gifted poet, of London literary networks in the 1890s, and of a bold woman whose achievements and scandals turned on her unusual history of marriage and divorce. Her literary history and her uncommon experience reveal the limits and opportunities faced by an unconventional, ambitious, and talented woman at the turn of the century.
The Heart of a Woman offers the first-ever biography of Florence B. Price, a composer whose career spanned both the Harlem and Chicago Renaissances, and the first African American woman to gain national recognition for her works.
Price's twenty-five years in Chicago formed the core of a working life that saw her create three hundred works in diverse genres, including symphonies and orchestral suites, art songs, vocal and choral music, and arrangements of spirituals. Through interviews and a wealth of material from public and private archives, Rae Linda Brown illuminates Price's major works while exploring the considerable depth of her achievement. Brown also traces the life of the extremely private individual from her childhood in Little Rock through her time at the New England Conservatory, her extensive teaching, and her struggles with racism, poverty, and professional jealousies. In addition, Brown provides musicians and scholars with dozens of musical examples.
How to Make It as a Woman outlines the history of prosopography or group biography, focusing on the all-female collections that took hold in nineteenth-century Britain and America. The queens, nurses, writers, reformers, adventurers, even assassins in these collective female biographies served as models to guide the moral development of young women. But often these famous historical women presented untrustworthy examples.
Beginning in the fifteenth century with Christine de Pizan, Alison Booth traces the long tradition of this genre, investigating the varied types and stories most often grouped together in illustrated books designed for entertainment and instruction. She claims that these group biographies have been instrumental in constructing modern subjectivities as well as relations among classes, races, and nations.
From Joan of Arc to Virginia Woolf, Booth examines a host of models of womanhood—both bad and good. Incorporating a bibliography that includes more than 900 all-female collections published in English between 1830 and 1940, Booth uses collective biographies to decode the varied advice on how to make it as a woman.
Developed in the United States in the 1980s, facial feminization surgery (FFS) is a set of bone and soft tissue reconstructive surgical procedures intended to feminize the faces of trans- women. While facial surgery was once considered auxiliary to genital surgery, many people now find that these procedures confer distinct benefits according to the different models of sex and gender in which they intervene. Surgeons advertise that FFS not only improves a trans- woman's appearance; it allows her to be recognized as a woman by those who see her. In The Look of a Woman Eric Plemons foregrounds the narratives of FFS patients and their surgeons as they move from consultation and the operating room to postsurgery recovery. He shows how the increasing popularity of FFS represents a shift away from genital-based conceptions of trans- selfhood in ways that mirror the evolving views of what is considered to be good trans- medicine. Outlining how conflicting models of trans- therapeutics play out in practice, Plemons demonstrates how FFS is changing the project of surgical sex reassignment by reconfiguring the kind of sex that surgery aims to change.
With its desperate acts and dire consequences, Nell Peters's tale of a woman's life in northern Wisconsin is a remarkable story, full of the sense and sound and flavor of a time and place rarely visited in books. Nell's tomboy childhood, her businesslike initiation into sex on the eve of her departure for the WACs in 1951, her resulting pregnancy and return home to a life sharply at odds with small-town conventions, her struggle to keep her twin sons, and her disastrous sexual liaisons with men and women alike are recounted in this funny, gritty, and wildly candid book.
No Place for a Woman is the first biography to analyze Margaret Chase Smith’s life and times by using politics and gender as the lens through which we can understand this Maine senator’s impact on American politics and American women. Sherman’s research is based upon more than one hundred hours of personal interviews with Senator Smith, and extensive research in primary and government documents, including those from the holdings of the Margaret Chase Smith Library.
Internationally acclaimed as a journalist, war correspondent, interviewer, and novelist, Oriana Fallaci’s public persona reached almost mythic proportions. It is a myth Fallaci herself created, according to Santo L. Aricò, who probes the psychological forces that motivated one of the twentieth century’s most famous and successful women writers.
Using his own extensive interviews with the writer, Aricò maps out Fallaci’s journey through life, paying particular attention to her ongoing and painstaking attempts to establish her own mythical status. He first examines her career as a literary journalist, emphasizing the high quality of her writing. From there, he concentrates on how Fallaci’s personal image began to emerge in her writings, as well as the way in which, through her powerful narratives, she catapulted herself into the public eye as her own main character.
This book provides a thorough examination of the writings of canon lawyers in the late Middle Ages as they come to terms, both in their academic work and also in their roles as judges and advisers, with women who were not, strictly speaking, religious, but who were popularly thought of as such.
“If beauty is truth, is ugliness falsehood and deception? If all art need concern itself with is beauty, what need have we to explore in our literature the nature and consequences of ugliness?” In Plain and Ugly Janes, originally published in hardcover in 2000 by Garland, Charlotte Wright defines and explores the ramifications of a new character type in twentieth-century American literature, the “ugly woman,” whose roots can be traced to the old maid/spinster character of the nineteenth century.
During the 1970s, stories began to appear in which the ugly woman is a figure of power—heroic not in the traditional old maid's way of quiet, passive acceptance but in a way more in keeping with the active, masculine definition of heroic behavior. Wright uses these stories to discuss the nature and definitions of ugliness and the effects of female ugliness on both male and female literary characters in the works of a range of American authors, including Sherwood Anderson, Russell Banks, Djuna Barnes, Peter S. Beagle, Sarah Bird, Ray Bradbury, Katherine Dunn, Louise Erdrich, William Faulkner, Tess Gallagher, Barry Hannah, Ernest Hemingway, Zora Neale Hurston, Alison Lurie, Lorrie Moore, Joyce Carol Oates, Flannery O'Connor, Katherine Anne Porter, Leon Rooke, Anne Tyler, Alice Walker, and Eudora Welty. Wright concludes that the ugly woman character allows American authors to explore the ironies and inequalities inherent in the beauty system.
The rhetorical tradition, Michelle Ballif asserts, is based on the systematic exclusion of sophistry. In keeping with Aristotle’ s prescription, rhetoric continues to be a counterpart to dialectic, a handmaiden to the pursuit of truth— even if that truth is merely probable.
According to Ballif, this search for truth manifests itself among current rhetoric and composition scholars in the form of an assumption that language is primarily communicative (i.e., that language can represent truth more or less faithfully). Ballif shows how invested we are in the notion of truth, in the idea that language represents truth, and in the assumption that the speaking/writing subject has, or should have, some essential relation to truth.
Provocatively, Ballif questions why the profession wants to retain these beliefs in the face of vociferous arguments from "new rhetorics" that the discipline no longer posits a foundational self or truth, and in the face of the poststructuralist critique, which has demonstrated that founding truth is always accomplished by first positing and then negating an “ other.” As an alternative to this negative and violent rhetorical process, Ballif suggests a turn to sophistry as embodied in the figure of Woman, one with the power to seduce us (literally, to lead astray) from our truth and our demand for it.
This figuration of Woman, however, is not the dialectical other used to sustain the identity and privilege of Man. On the contrary, this Woman is an Other Woman: A Third Woman as a Third Sophistic practice that escapes Plato’ s binary (philosophic rhetoric vs. sophistry) and renders the distinction between truth and deception incalculable. Ballif examines three figurations of the Third Woman as Third Sophistic as offered by Gorgias, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Jean Baudrillard.
Senhora: Profile of a Woman
By José de Alencar University of Texas Press, 1994 Library of Congress PQ9697.A53S413 1994 | Dewey Decimal 869.3
"It is a truth universally acknowledged . . ." that a single woman in possession of a good character but no fortune must be in want of a wealthy husband—that is, if she is the heroine of a nineteenth-century novel. Senhora, by contrast, turns the tables on this familiar plot. Its strong-willed, independent heroine Aurélia uses newly inherited wealth to "buy back" and exact revenge on the fiancé who had left her for a woman with a more enticing dowry.
This exciting Brazilian novel, originally published in 1875 and here translated into English for the first time, raises many questions about traditional gender relationships, the commercial nature of marriage, and the institution of the dowry. While conventional marital roles triumph in the end, the novel still offers realistic insights into the social and economic structure of Rio de Janeiro in the mid-1800s. With its unexpected plot, it also opens important new perspectives on the nineteenth-century Romantic novel.
In 1973, Louise Wagenknecht was just another college graduate, but unlike many, she wanted to go home, back to the Klamath Mountains where she was raised. When a job offer from the Klamath National Forest gave her that chance, she jumped at it. She landed in the logging town of Happy Camp, where she’d spent part of her childhood, as chronicled in her previous memoirs, White Poplar, Black Locust and Light on the Devils.
With Shadows on the Klamath, Louise Wagenknecht completes her trilogy about life in remote northwestern California. In this new work, she recounts her years in the Forest Service, starting as a clerical worker on the Klamath National Forest before moving to a field position where she did everything from planting trees to fighting fires.
Her story is about a Forest Service in transition, as forest management practices began to shift. Not least among these changes was the presence of women in the ranks—a change that many in the Forest Service resisted. Wagenknecht blends the personal and professional to describe land management in the West and the people who do it—their friendships, rivalries, and rural communities.
Anyone with an interest in the Klamath-Siskiyou region, or the history of women in natural resource agencies, or the many issues associated with industrial forestry, should read this book for its valuable firsthand perspective. General readers interested in the rural West and personal memoir will also be richly rewarded.
Arwa Salih was a member of the political bureau of the Egyptian Communist Workers Party, which was founded in the wake of the Arab–Israeli War and the Egyptian student movement of the early 1970s. Written more than a decade after Salih quit the party and left political life—and published shortly after she committed suicide—the book offers a poignant look at, and reckoning with, the Marxism of her generation and the role of militant intellectuals in the tragic failure of both the national liberation project and the communist project in Egypt. The powerful critique in The Stillborn speaks not only to and about Salih’s own generation of left activists but also to broader, still salient dilemmas of revolutionary politics throughout the developing world in the postcolonial era.
“How is it that there are so many lloronas?” A haunting figure of Mexican oral and literary traditions, La Llorona permeates the consciousness of her folk community. From a ghost who haunts the riverbank to a murderous mother condemned to wander the earth after killing her own children in an act of revenge or grief, the Weeping Woman has evolved within Chican@ imaginations across centuries, yet no truly comprehensive examination of her impact existed until now. Tracing La Llorona from ancient oral tradition to her appearance in contemporary material culture, There Was a Woman delves into the intriguing transformations of this provocative icon. From La Llorona's roots in legend to the revisions of her story and her exaltation as a symbol of resistance, Domino Renee Perez illuminates her many permutations as seductress, hag, demon, or pitiful woman. Perez draws on more than two hundred artifacts to provide vivid representations of the ways in which these perceived identities are woven from abstract notions—such as morality or nationalism—and from concrete, often misunderstood concepts from advertising to television and literature. The result is a rich and intricate survey of a powerful figure who continues to be reconfigured.
While many scholars find the early modern triad of virtues for women—silence, chastity, and obedience—to be straightforward and nonnegotiable, Jessica C. Murphy demonstrates that these virtues were by no means as direct and inflexible as they might seem. Drawing on the literature of the period—from the plays of Shakespeare to a conduct manual written for a princess to letters from a wife to her husband—as well as contemporary gender theory and philosophy, she uncovers the multiple meanings of behavioral expectations for sixteenth- and seventeenth-century women. Through her renegotiation of cultural ideals as presented in both literary and nonliterary texts of early modern England, Murphy presents models for “acceptable” women’s conduct that lie outside of the rigid prescriptions of the time.
Virtuous Necessity will appeal to readers interested in early modern English literature, including canonical authors such as Shakespeare, Spenser, and Milton, as well as their female contemporaries such as Amelia Lanyer and Elizabeth Cary. It will also appeal to scholars of conduct literature; of early modern drama, popular literature, poetry, and prose; of women’s history; and of gender theory.
Examining the personal library and the making of self
When writer Edith Wharton died in 1937, without any children, her library of more than five thousand volumes was divided and subsequently sold. Decades later, it was reassembled and returned to The Mount, her historic Massachusetts estate. What a Library Means to a Woman examines personal libraries as technologies of self-creation in modern America, focusing on Wharton and her remarkable collection of books.
Sheila Liming explores the connection between libraries and self-making in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American culture, from the 1860s to the 1930s. She tells the story of Wharton’s library in concert with Wharton scholarship and treatises from this era concerning the wider fields of book history, material and print culture, and the histories (and pathologies) of collecting. Liming’s study blends literary and historical analysis while engaging with modern discussions about gender, inheritance, and hoarding. It offers a review of the many meanings of a library collection, while reading one specific collection in light of its owner’s literary celebrity.
What a Library Means to a Woman was born from Liming’s ongoing work digitizing the Wharton library collection. It ultimately argues for a multifaceted understanding of authorship by linking Wharton’s literary persona to her library, which was, as she saw it, the site of her self-making.
At the height of her career, actress Charlotte Cushman (1816-76) was one of the most famous women in the English-speaking world. Cushman challenged Victorian notions of gender in her stage portrayals of male characters and of strong, androgynous female characters. Offstage, she was a powerful businesswoman who supported her family, women lovers, and friends.
Lisa Merrill examines Cushman's personal correspondence to shed new light on the actress's relationships and in turn on our understandings of the nature of women's "romantic friendships." She demonstrates how Cushman's androgynous presence served as a symbol to many of her contemporaries, and revealed their multiple and often contradictory attitudes toward female performers, women, and the unspeakable possibilities of same-sex desire.
The biography draws upon unpublished archival material as well as on current critical work to view Cushman's career, relationships, and posthumous reception. When Romeo Was a Woman examines as autobiographical performance Cushman's own narratives, the stories she authorized others to write, and the letters she wrote to intimates. The book is richly illustrated with many previously unpublished portraits of Cushman in her various stage roles, including Romeo and Lady Macbeth, and other revealing photographs of her family, lovers and friends.
When Romeo Was a Woman will find an appreciative audience among general readers as well as specialists in gay/lesbian history, women's history, theater and performance, popular culture, Victorian studies, and American studies.
"A fascinating story, and a major contribution to our understanding of lesbian history. . . . The work done on archival resources is both impressive in its extent and wholly convincing in its effect." --Jacky Bratton, University of London
Lisa Merrill is Associate Professor of Communication and Performance Studies, Hofstra University. She is the coauthor of The Power to Communicate: Gender Differences as Barriers, and the author of Untying the Tongue: Power, Gender, and the Word, forthcoming.
Beginning with Sappho in the seventh century B.C.E and ending with Egeria in the fifth century C.E., Snyder profiles ancient Greek and Roman women writers, including lyric and elegiac poets and philosophers and other prose writers. The writers are allowed to speak for themselves, with as much translation from their extant works provided in text as possible. In addition to giving readers biographical and cultural context for the writers and their works, Snyder refutes arguments representing prejudicial attitudes about women’s writing found in the scholarly literature. Covering writers from a wide historical span, this volume provides an engaging and informative introduction to the origins of the tradition of women’s writing in the West.
Melody Maxwell’s The Woman I Am analyzes the traditional, progressive, and potential roles female Southern Baptist writers and editors portrayed for Southern Baptist women from 1906 to 2006, particularly in the area of missions.
The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) represents the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, yet Southern Baptist women’s voices have been underreported in studies of American religion and culture. In The Woman I Am, Melody Maxwell explores how female Southern Baptist writers and editors in the twentieth century depicted changing roles for women and responded to the tensions that arose as Southern Baptist women assumed leadership positions, especially in the areas of missions and denominational support.
Given access to a century of primary sources and archival documents, Maxwell writes, as did many of her subjects, in a style that deftly combines the dispassionate eye of an observer with the multidimensional grasp of a participant. She examines magazines published by Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU), an auxiliary to the SBC: Our Mission Fields (1906–1914), Royal Service (1914–1995), Contempo (1970–1995), and Missions Mosaic (1995–2006). In them, she traces how WMU writers and editors perceived, constructed, and expanded the lives of southern women.
Showing ingenuity and resiliency, these writers and editors continually, though not always consciously, reshaped their ideal of Christian womanhood to better fit the new paths open to women in American culture and Southern Baptist life. Maxwell’s work demonstrates that Southern Baptists have transformed their views on biblically sanctioned roles for women over a relatively short historical period.
How Southern Baptist women perceive women’s roles in their churches, homes, and the wider world is of central importance to readers interested in religion, society, and gender in the United States. The Woman I Am is a tour de force that makes a lasting contribution to the world’s understanding of Southern Baptists and to their understanding of themselves.
Told with humor and flair, this is the autobiography of one transsexual's wild ride from boyhood as Alfred Brevard ("Buddy") Crenshaw in rural Tennessee to voluptuous female entertainer in Hollywood. Aleshia Brevard, as she is now known, underwent transitional surgery in Los Angeles in 1962, one of the first such operations in the United States. (The famous sexual surgery pioneer Harry Benjamin himself broke the news to Brevard's parents.)
Under the stage name Lee Shaw, Brevard worked as a drag queen at Finocchio's, a San Francisco club, doing Marilyn Monroe impersonations. (Like Marilyn, she sought romance all the time and had a string of entanglements with men.) Later, she worked as a stripper in Reno and as a Playboy Bunny at the Sunset Strip hutch.
After playing opposite Don Knotts in the movie The Love God, Brevard appeared in other films and broke into TV as a regular on the Red Skelton Show. She created the role of Tex on the daytime soap opera One Life To Live. As a woman, Brevard returned to teach theater at East Tennessee State, the same university she had attended as a boy.
This memoir is a rare pre-Women's Movement account of coming to terms with gender identity. Brevard writes frankly about the degree to which she organized her life around pleasing men, and how absurd it all seems to her now.
A Cuban woman who moved to New Orleans in the 1850s and eloped with her American lover, Loreta Janeta Velazquez fought in the Civil War for the Confederacy as the cross-dressing Harry T. Buford. As Buford, she single-handedly organized an Arkansas regiment; participated in the historic battles of Bull Run, Balls Bluff, Fort Donelson, and Shiloh; romanced men and women; and eventually decided that spying as a woman better suited her Confederate cause than fighting as a man. In the North, she posed as a double agent and worked to traffic information, drugs, and counterfeit bills to support the Confederate cause. She was even hired by the Yankee secret service to find "the woman . . . traveling and figuring as a Confederate agent"—Velazquez herself.
Originally published in 1876 as The Woman in Battle, this Civil War narrative offers Velazquez’s seemingly impossible autobiographical account, as well as a new critical introduction and glossary by Jesse Alemán. Scholars are divided between those who read the book as a generally honest autobiography and those who read it as mostly fiction. According to Alemán’s critical introduction, the book also reads as pulp fiction, spy memoir, seduction narrative, travel literature, and historical account, while it mirrors the literary conventions of other first-person female accounts of cross-dressing published in the United States during wartime, dating back to the Revolutionary War. Whatever the facts are, this is an authentic Civil War narrative, Alemán concludes, that recounts how war disrupts normal gender roles, redefines national borders, and challenges the definition of identity.
The Woman in the Corner keenly observes and gives voice to the ambiguities and astonishments that we often turn away from—in human relationships and in our own unruly hearts. In poems that speak fearlessly about sex and grief, mothers and daughters, and friendships and marriage, Krygowski examines the beauty and danger of inhabiting a woman’s body in the twenty-first century while negotiating how our pasts infiltrate, for better or worse, the here and now. This intimate collection delivers hard won loves and insights, surprising humor, and daring imagination. Krygowski celebrates our joys, gives witness to our pain, and never, never compromises.
Excerpt from “The Woman in the Corner”
I cut a leaf from my mother’s blooming violet,
long alive past her death, to start a plant
for my daughter who I never knew as a baby—
born to a different woman—
but for whom I explained birth
control, blood, how to relax, push in a tampon,
what my mother never touched, her body
a child-making mystery that pushed me
into mystery. What is a woman
who doesn’t long for kids?
A well-known novelist and journalist from the coastal city of Jableh, Samar Yazbek witnessed the beginning four months of the uprising first-hand and actively participated in a variety of public actions and budding social movements. Throughout this period she kept a diary of personal reflections on, and observations of, this historic time. Because of the outspoken views she published in print and online, Yazbek quickly attracted the attention and fury of the regime, vicious rumours started to spread about her disloyalty to the homeland and the Alawite community to which she belongs. The lyrical narrative describes her struggle to protect herself and her young daughter, even as her activism propels her into a horrifying labyrinth of insecurity after she is forced into living on the run and detained multiple times, excluded from the Alawite community and renounced by her family, her hometown and even her childhood friends. With rare empathy and journalistic prowess Samar Yazbek compiled oral testimonies from ordinary Syrians all over the country. Filled with snapshots of exhilarating hope and horrifying atrocities, she offers us a wholly unique perspective on the Syrian uprising. Hers is a modest yet powerful testament to the strength and commitment of countless unnamed Syrians who have united to fight for their freedom. These diaries will inspire all those who read them, and challenge the world to look anew at the trials and tribulations of the Syrian uprising.
Surgery is the most martial and masculine of medical specialties. The combat with death is carried out in the operating room, where the intrepid surgeon challenges the forces of destruction and disease. What, then, if the surgeon is a woman? Anthropologist Joan Cassell enters this closely guarded arena to explore the work and lives of women practicing their craft in what is largely a man's world.
Cassell observed thirty-three surgeons in five North American cities over the course of three years. We follow these women through their grueling days: racing through corridors to make rounds, perform operations, hold office hours, and teach residents. We hear them, in their own words, discuss their training and their relations with patients, nurses, colleagues, husbands, and children.
Do these women differ from their male colleagues? And if so, do such differences affect patient care? The answers Cassell uncovers are as complex and fascinating as the issues she considers. A unique portrait of the day-to-day reality of these remarkable women, The Woman in the Surgeon's Body is an insightful account of how being female influences the way the surgeon is perceived by colleagues, nurses, patients, and superiors--and by herself.
Woman in the Wilderness is a collection of letters written between 1832 and 1892 to and by an American woman, Harriet Wood Wheeler.
Harriet's letters reveal her experiences with actors and institutions that played pivotal roles in the history of American women: the nascent literate female work force at the mills in Lowell, Massachusetts; the Ipswich Female Seminary, which was one of the first schools for women teachers; women's associations, especially in churches; and the close and enduring ties that characterized women's relationships in the late nineteenth century.
Harriet's letters also provide an intimate view of the relationships between American Indians and Euro-Americans in the Great Lakes region, where she settled with her Christian missionary husband.
In The Woman in the Window: Commerce, Consensual Fantasy, and the Quest for Masculine Virtue in the Russian Novel, Russell Scott Valentino offers pioneering new insights into the historical construction of virtue and its relation to the rapidly shifting economic context in modern Russia. This study illustrates how the traditional virtue ethic, grounded in property-based conceptions of masculine heroism, was eventually displaced by a new commercial ethic that rested upon consensual fantasy. The new economic world destabilized traditional Russian notions of virtue and posed a central question that Russian authors have struggled to answer since the early nineteenth century: How could a self-interested commercial man be incorporated into the Russian context as a socially valuable masculine character?
With chapters on Gogol, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky as well as Pasternak and Nabokov, The Woman in the Window argues that Russian authors worked through this question via their depictions of “mixed-up men.” Such characters, according to Valentino, reveal that in a world where social reality and personal identity depend on consensual fantasies, the old masculine figure loses its grounding and can easily drift away. Valentino charts a range of masculine character types thrown off stride by the new commercially inflected world: those who embrace blind confidence, those who are split with doubt or guilt, and those who look for an ideal of steadfastness and purity to keep afloat—a woman in a window.
The Mexican American woman zoot suiter, or pachuca, often wore a V-neck sweater or a long, broad-shouldered coat, a knee-length pleated skirt, fishnet stockings or bobby socks, platform heels or saddle shoes, dark lipstick, and a bouffant. Or she donned the same style of zoot suit that her male counterparts wore. With their striking attire, pachucos and pachucas represented a new generation of Mexican American youth, which arrived on the public scene in the 1940s. Yet while pachucos have often been the subject of literature, visual art, and scholarship, The Woman in the Zoot Suit is the first book focused on pachucas.
Two events in wartime Los Angeles thrust young Mexican American zoot suiters into the media spotlight. In the Sleepy Lagoon incident, a man was murdered during a mass brawl in August 1942. Twenty-two young men, all but one of Mexican descent, were tried and convicted of the crime. In the Zoot Suit Riots of June 1943, white servicemen attacked young zoot suiters, particularly Mexican Americans, throughout Los Angeles. The Chicano movement of the 1960s–1980s cast these events as key moments in the political awakening of Mexican Americans and pachucos as exemplars of Chicano identity, resistance, and style. While pachucas and other Mexican American women figured in the two incidents, they were barely acknowledged in later Chicano movement narratives. Catherine S. Ramírez draws on interviews she conducted with Mexican American women who came of age in Los Angeles in the late 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s as she recovers the neglected stories of pachucas. Investigating their relative absence in scholarly and artistic works, she argues that both wartime U.S. culture and the Chicano movement rejected pachucas because they threatened traditional gender roles. Ramírez reveals how pachucas challenged dominant notions of Mexican American and Chicano identity, how feminists have reinterpreted la pachuca, and how attention to an overlooked figure can disclose much about history making, nationalism, and resistant identities.
In Woman of the River one of the major voices in Latin American poetry confronts the political realities of contemporary Central America. Many of the poems are political, direct, and condemnatory of the United States’ presence in Latin America, and they are rich, human documents rooted in Alegria’s knowledge of and love for her subjects.
As Carolyn Forche has written of Alegria’s previous selection of poems, Flowers from the Volcano: “These poems are testimonies to the value of a single human memory, political in the sense that there is no life apart from our common destiny. They are poems of passionate witness and confrontation. Responding to those who would state that politics has no place in poetry, she would add her voice to that of Neruda’s: we do not wish to please them . . . .” She carries within her the ancient blood of the Pipiles and laces her language with mesitizo richness.”
Georgie White Clark-adventurer, raconteur, eccentric--first came to know the canyons of the Colorado River by swimming portions of them with a single companion. She subsequently hiked and rafted portions of the canyons, increasingly sharing her love of the Colorado River with friends and acquaintances. At first establishing a part-time guide service as a way to support her own river trips, she went on to become perhaps the canyons' best-known river guide, introducing their rapids to many others-on the river, via her large-capacity rubber rafts, and across the nation, via magazine articles and movies. Georgie Clark saw the river and her sport change with the building of Glen Canyon Dam, enormous increases in the popularity of river running, and increased National Park Service regulation of rafting and river guides. Adjusting, though not always easily, to the changes, she helped transform an elite adventure sport into a major tourist activity.
For twenty-five years, Charlotte Curtis was a society/women's reporter and editor and an op-ed editor at the New York Times. As the first woman section editor at the Times, Curtis was a pioneering journalist and one of the first nationwide to change the nature and content of the women's pages from fluffy wedding announcements and recipes to the more newsy, issue-oriented stories that characterize them today. In this riveting biography, Marilyn Greenwald describes how a woman reporter from Columbus, Ohio, broke into the ranks of the male-dominated upper echelon at the New York Times. It documents what she did to succeed and what she had to sacrifice.
Charlotte Curtis paved the way for the journalists who followed her. A Woman of the Times offers a chronicle of her hard-won journey as she invents her own brand of feminism during the 1960s and 1970s. In the telling of this remarkable woman’s life is the story, as well, of a critical era in the nation’s social history.
The Second Coming of Christ has been prophesied many times through the centuries but seldom by a figure so fascinating as Joanna Southcott (1750–1814), the domestic servant who at the age of forty-two declared that God had chosen her to announce His return. A Woman to Deliver Her People is the most comprehensive study of this remarkable woman and her movement yet written. Dramatic social and political changes of the late eighteenth century—among them the revolutions in America and France—had a profound effect on the attitudes of English men and women at all levels of society. With events so far outside the range of ordinary experience, both the educated and the uneducated turned to the prophetic books of the Bible, seeking solace and explanation. A number of prophets and prophetesses appeared, claiming to have a special understanding of the biblical texts and offering startling new revelations which had been disclosed to them by God. The greatest and most influential of these was Joanna Southcott, who attracted tens of thousands of followers from the West Country, London, the Midlands, and the industrial North. Her “spiritual communications” filled some sixty-five books and pamphlets from 1801 until her death. Most contemporary observers dismissed Southcott as a fanatic, and she was frequently the subject of caricature and ridicule. James Hopkins attempts to remedy this distortion by examining Southcott’s life and the millenarian movement she led within the context of the social, political, and economic crises of the period. By tracing the psychological and popular roots of Southcott’s piety, and casting her appeal against the backdrop of a revolutionary age, Hopkins not only vividly portrays the life of this fascinating woman but also offers a new perspective on the mentality of ordinary English men and women during the years of their transformation into a working class.
Marina Goldovskaya is one of Russia’s best-known documentary filmmakers. The first woman in Russia (and possibly the world) to combine being a director, writer, cinematographer, and producer, Goldovskaya has made over thirty documentary films and more than one hundred programs for Russian, European, Japanese, and American television. Her work, which includes the award-winning films The House on Arbat Street, The Shattered Mirror, and Solovky Power, has garnered international acclaim and won virtually every prize given for documentary filmmaking. In Woman with a Movie Camera, Goldovskaya turns her lens on her own life and work, telling an adventurous, occasionally harrowing story of growing up in the Stalinist era and subsequently documenting Russian society from the 1960s, through the Thaw and Perestroika, to post-Soviet Russia. She recalls her childhood in a Moscow apartment building that housed famous filmmakers, being one of only three women students at the State Film School, and working as an assistant cameraperson on the first film of Andrei Tarkovsky, Russia’s most celebrated director. Reviewing her professional filmmaking career, which began in the 1960s, Goldovskaya reveals her passion for creating films that presented a truthful picture of Soviet life, as well as the challenges of working within (and sometimes subverting) the bureaucracies that controlled Russian film and television production and distribution. Along the way, she describes a host of notable figures in Russian film, theater, art, and politics, as well as the technological evolution of filmmaking from film to video to digital media. A compelling portrait of a woman who broke gender and political barriers, as well as the eventful four decades of Russian history she has documented, Woman with a Movie Camera will be fascinating reading for a wide audience.
Writing Like a Woman
Alicia Ostriker University of Michigan Press, 1983 Library of Congress PS151.O77 1983 | Dewey Decimal 811.54099287
"'If we have the habit of freedom and the courage to write exactly as we think,' as Woolf puts it in A Room of One's Own, writing like a woman simply means writing like what one actually is, in sickness and health, richer and poorer, belly and bowels, the consonants and the vowels too. We may have a general sense that women poets are more likely than men, at the present time, to write in detail about their bodies; to take power relationships as a theme; to want to speak with a strong rather than a subdued voice; are less likely to seek distance, more likely to seek intimacy, in poetic tone. But generalization would be foolish here. 'Woman poet,' like 'American poet' or 'French poet' or 'Russian poet,' allows--even insists on--diversity, while implying something valuable in common, some shared language and life, of tremendous importance to the poet and the poet's readers." --Alicia Ostriker