Jan 19, 2015

reading Writing a Woman's Life

nov 11 2014  (i keep finding these posts i never posted)

i've been re-reading and old book i saved to see if i want to continue to give it shelf space. lots of Writing a Woman's Life goes right over my head now that i am so long away from scholarly thinking and writing. the book is amazingly interesting; not as out of date as i'd hoped...the put-down term Chick Lit comes to mind...
i did come upon a phrase that reminded me of a recent discussion about a woman who had been asked to leave the opera in France because she was wearing a veil over her face.  The discussion had to do with whether France is saving women from religious oppression of womankind, or is it denying them religious freedom.  The sentence in Writing a Woman's Life is p.41/42 : 
To put it differently, as Elaine Marks does, American feminist critics see women as oppressed by sexism, "their voices unheard within the dominant culture," whereas for French critics, women are repressed, equivalent to the unconscious, and therefore not representable in language.  
 think about this difference...and if in the case of repressed, how to determine what is repression and what is personal preference!
later: almost finished Writing A Woman's Life.  it is like reading history, and making more sense of it all. it's like "Oh so that's what happened,"
one of the women in my book group is waiting to read it. she loved the mystery we are reading for the group, "Death in a Tenured Position" and wants to know more about Carolyn Heilman and her writing. 
she mentioned she is in another book group in town, of younger women (probably in their 40s and 50s as compared to ours -- we are in our late 60s and 70s) and they are reading Gone Girl.  i said i'd started it but didnt get very far and did not like it nor want to read any more of it. she was amazed and said same thing happened to her.
her theory is that it is an age thing.
in which case it is a good example of something Heilman mentions, that we take things to be personal often not realizing they are political or historical (sociological?)

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