Category Archives: Feminism

“What I Am Is What I Do”: Robert B. Parker, Promised Land

“The kind of man I am is not a suitable topic, you know. It’s not what one talks about.” “Why?” “Because it’s not.” “The code? A man doesn’t succumb to self-analysis? It’s weak? It’s womanish?” “It’s pointless. What I am is what I do. Finding the right words for it is no improvement. It isn’t […]

Innovation and the Eye of the Beholder

On university campuses we hear a lot about innovation these days, from hype about the latest ed-tech fad to proclamations by institutions like my own about fostering a “culture of innovation.” This has got me reflecting on how we define or recognize innovation — something that is not as obvious, I think, as its champions, […]

Recent Reading Round-Up: Mysteries, Romances, and Feminists

It isn’t that I haven’t done any reading since I posted on Elena Ferrante’s The Story of a New Name; it’s just that none of the reading has felt really notable, or else it has been reading for work and thus not something I necessarily have more to say about here. I’m actually looking forward […]

“The sword in the hand of humanity”: Writings of Rebecca West 1911-1917

“Boldness is Rebecca West’s strength,” Jane Marcus says in  her edited collection The Young Rebecca: Writings of Rebecca West 1911-1917; “She polished the weapons of invective and denunciation into the tools of a fine art.” That combination of boldness and artfulness makes West irresistibly quotable: people who hang out with me on Twitter may have noticed […]

This Week in My Classes: Feminism and Fatality

This week in my section of Intro to Literature we’re starting a unit organized around women writers and feminism. We’re starting this week with some poetry — Adrienne Rich’s “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers” and “Diving Into the Wreck,” Margaret Atwood’s “You fit into me,” Marge Piercy’s “The Secretary Chant,” and Sylvia Plath’s “Daddy.” Next we’re working […]

An Examined Life: Vera Brittain, Testament of Youth

Now that I’ve finished reading Testament of Youth, I am most impressed by it as a testament to Brittain’s determination to understand and give meaning to the war. Though the book is often very poignant (as in the excerpt I posted last time), it’s not, ultimately, an emotional book so much as it is an […]

Writing and Life: Influential Critics

Some time ago one of my most thoughtful readers (hi, Tom!) suggested I write about “a teacher/scholar whose work has had a significant influence on you.” I really liked this idea because, as I said in the resulting post, “It is impossible to overestimate the importance the right teacher at the right time can have […]

Sara Paretsky Admires EBB

Here’s a heartfelt, if somewhat unexpected, tribute from one writer to another: Victorian writers tackled the Angel more creatively. A number, including Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Isabella Bird, took to their beds, but it was Barrett Browning who also first confronted the Angel head on in her 1856 poem, Aurora Leigh. Women may be educated, […]

Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns: "A Man’s Accusing Finger Always Finds a Woman"

It seems almost trivial to comment on A Thousand Splendid Suns as a novel with this story in the headlines. (Not incidentally, I am infuriated at the tepid journalistic standards underwriting the description of the new law as one that “critics say would severely undermine women’s rights”–it does undermine women’s rights–I’m pretty sure that the […]

Weekend Miscellany: Feminist Lit Crit, New Age Libraries, Chick Lit

Here are links to some things I’ve found interesting in recent hops, skips, and jumps around the web: In Dissent, Judith Walzer on the pioneering feminist literary critics of the 1970s: In the 1970s a number of books were written to reappraise women authors and the literature they produced. For the most part these books […]

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