The Women's Studies Review, JO Pagt

Tags: Benson, younger women, experience, department stores, Women and Aging, Ohio State University, factory managers, Dorothea, Lesbian Etiquette, Merle Hodge, John Wanamaker, Susan Porter Benson, old MacDonald, department store, Marion Patrick Jones, Daryl Cumber Dance, Louise Bennett, Benedetta Carlini, Judith C. Brown, Carl, Benedetta, Gerda Lerner, women, book reviews, Jean Rhys, Mary Cassatt, Alexander Cassatt, The Feminist Press, Judith K. Bron, Crossing Press, Lawa Weeks, Cynthia Rich, feminist movement, images of women, property transfer, Gail Sausser, Helena Ooscilo, social institutions, Russian women, Barbara MacDonald, Elizabeth Layton, Look Me In the Eye, EUzabtth Linder DaGue, Terri Jewell, The Ohio State University, violence against women, Women's Studies, Bowling Green State University, Barban MacDonald, Kathleen J. Alcala
Content: The Women's Studies Review
The Ohio State University Center for Women's Studies
Volume 9 No. 2 Spring 1987
ISSN 0195-6604 In this issue: Reviews TM Pain and the Power of Coming of Age. By Marcia Bedard. Review of Orowing Up Female. By S,uan KopJltlman. Living With Dtath. By Carol Bininger. Review of Immodest Acts. By Leila Rupp. Review of Io Her Own Right By Kathy Cano. Review of An Afre>-Victorian Feminist. By Claue Robertson. Review of Counter CultureL By EUzabtth Linder DaGue. Caribbean ,Vomen Writers: RtSOIITcts for Research. By Glynis Carr. Review of Playbook. By Ann C. Hall. Rtvi~ of Mary Camt and Philadelphia. By Mary M. Rider. Review of Women in the World By Dottie Painltr. Review of Women Making Music. By Martha Maas. Review of Making a Difference. By Josephine Donovan. Rtvi~ of The Lady and the Virgin. By Jtan Blocur Review of Lesbian Etiquette. By Smanne Hytr1. Review of RUllian and Poliab Women's Fictioo. By Lowa Weds. Latin American and African Tales of Patriarchal Violence. By Tania RturlaUto.
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The Pain And The Power Of Comin& Of Age
Look Me In the Eye: Old Women, Aging and Ageism. By Barban MacDonald with Cynthia RidL San Francisco: Spinsters, Ink, 1983. Women and Aging, An Anthology By Women. Edited by the CALYX Editorial Collective. CALYX, 1987. In Ber Prime: A New View of Middle-Aged Women. By Judith K. Bron, Virginia Kerm, and Contributors. South H·dley, MA: Bergin & Garvey, 1986..
By Marcia Bedard, Departmenl of Sociology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio
An increasing number of long-lived women are beginning to articulate the ageism within the feminist movement, as well as in society as a whole. As they do so, they call upon younger women to examine ageism, to understand it, and to work to end it In Look Me In the Eye, Barbara MacDonald writes, "A hundred years ago, much of the radical feminist political action was probably not visible to younger women, who were in domestic servitude or already burdened with unwanted pregnancies and small children, unable to read and with no way out" MacDoaald reminds us that the greater amount of freedom and f e ~ knowledge available to young women today is due, 10 part, to the efforts of the older women of the first wave. Yet older women are often regarded as marginal by younger feminists - a good source of oral histories, perhaps. but women whole productive lives are essentially "behind them." Look Me In the Eye is a collection of essays by 69-year- old MacDonald and Cynthia Rich, her 4S-year-old lover and friend The differences in how ~ . woman is. treated, solely because of her age, are striking. In daily encounters with others, it is Cynthia who receives the eye cootact; questions are asked of her more often than of Barbara; in a hardware store Barbara asks a question and the clerk answers Cynthia Such painful consciousness-rai&ing experiences illuminate ~th ~e problems ~d the potentials of intimate friendships between different generations of women. Throughout this book, MacDonald relentlesaly cballenges the notion that life is improving for women her age and older, in spite of the new interest shown by government and corporate planners in collecting data on older women. In the ~y entitled ''Exploitation By Compassion," MacDonald po10ts out that while there is a proliferation of new research, statistics, and reports on older women, ~re is no plan for improving their life conditions, nor eVIdence that these data will be used for their benefit She urges caution, warning that "Before we celebrate the new statistical visibility of women, history should s ~ .to .. us that .visi_bility may not lessen our exp!ottation. She believes it may, in fact, increase it, noting that '11 women are being moved in and out of ~ la~ force for the convenience of the male world, 1t JUst figures that they can exploit women more
efficiently if they know just bow many are standing in line vulnerable and needing work for any pay." Ricil's essays are equally lnsigbtful and challenging. In one of them, "Aging. Ageism, and Feminist Avoidance," she demonstrates how ageism is a point of convergence for many other repressive forces, the cumulative effects of which must be taken into account She points to male violence against women, the capitalist definition of 'productivity', women's inferior social and economic status, contempt for the physically cballenged, enforced heterosexuality institutionaliz.ed in families which confine women to male-defined roles and economic dependencies, and the ever-present and persistent racism endured by women of color. In Rich's analysis of Western man's deep unconscious fears, ageism "reflects his sense of alienation from nature and her pioceaes - especially birth and death, his aaociation of thole proceaes with women, and his need to control both them and her." Look Me In The Eye is a provocative and timely contribution to feminist literature, centering as it does on the personal/political experieoccs of two women whose love and courage inspire us to nourish the potential for a sisterhood that embraces ALL women. Women and Aging, the new feminist anthology from Calyx, is another treasure to be shared by all who would acknowledge and celebrate the continuing contributions of long-lived women. It begins with the rich and earthy poetry of Meridel Le Seur "Rites of Ancient Ripening." Readers will also find' Le Seur's synopm of her life story inspiring - already the author of a large volume of works, at the age of 86 she is now working on three new novels. She informs us that there are many wonderful things that happen to us as we grow old, such as noticing the cyclical nature of politics. ..You can see the same idiots in office and the ~ . wars," ~e says, highlighting her seventy years of activlSID, fleetng from the FBI, protesting on the capitol steps, and standing in picket lines. Women and Aging is richly illustrated, with sections on photography, art, essays, fiction, journals, profiles, and book reviews. The very high quality and uniqueneu of each contribution makes it a difficult book to review in a way that does justice to the
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creativity and careful thought that weot into producing this work. Women whose work is widely koowo (e.g. Imogen Cuooingbam, Margaret Randall, Ursula LeOuio, Marge Piercy, and others) are well represented, and there are excellent cootributioos by less reoowoed, yet extremely talented women. One of the artists whose work is included is Elizabeth Layton, who, as Lucy Lippard's profile of Layton indicates, "saved her owo life and added immeasurably to ours" by beginning to draw teo years ago at the age of 68. Layton's self-portrait virtually shines from the cover of Women and Aging. Proudly displaying a chest covered with political buttons, Layton flexes her biceps and grins out at us with the same self-assured humor that we see in her drawing entitled ''Eyes of the Law." In this piece, Layton's face is reflected in the dark glasses of row after row of uniform CIA types - she is thumbing her ears at them. Standing the "sweet old lady" image oo its head, Layton's art reflects the sensibilities of oot only a survivor, but a proud and strong re-sister. Other works included in the anthology are by younger women, whose lives aod art have been enriched aod inspired by their long-lived sisters. Terri Jewell, for example, is a 30-year-old Black lesbian writer who coordinates a meals program for elders, 99% of whom are Black women. Io "Felled Shadows" and "Sistah Flo," Jewell captures the pain and looelioea, the indomitable courage and strength of women who arc old, poor, and Black. "Sistah Flo" gives us ooe such glimpse into the lives of older Black women: She carried one daughter four SOOS oioc grandchildren before a stroke smoothed her clean as the white lady's sheets she scrubbed by hand for thirty years In the fiction section, Kathleen J. Alcala's "Amalia" also speaks to the struggle of poor women of color to survive in old age. This is a story of two sisters living together in a crumbling East Los Angeles neighborhood, where they are taunted and stoned by children shouting ''Brujal Brujal" After a younger brother's efforts to help them fail (bis wife thinks they deserve to be called witches because their grooming is oot up to her standards), the sisters are visited by the spirit of a dead relative who teaches them to dream-travel As they wander at night through the dreams of their relatives, and visit places they once knew and still loog for, the sisters are released from their looclioess and isolation. Alcala is a brilliant storyteller, and "Amalia" is part of a collection she hopes to publish in both English and Spanish. In the profiles section, Marjorie Agosio's "Portrait of Two Chilean Arpilleristas," translated by Cola Fram.co, is a moving account of impoverished older women who live under Pinochet's brutal dictatorship. Agosio describes the making of "arpilleras," or wall
hangings, out ot cloth scraps as ooe way that women survive and protest their oppression. They sell the arpilleras to tourists as "souvenirs of Chile" - colorful and powerful political statements which record the human misery there. Common themes are shantytowns, empty pots, clOlled factories, unemployment lines, lack of water, and picturCI of the disappeared surrounded by embroidered question marks. The political power of the arpilleras is obvious their sale is prohibited aod the military junta has eveo resorted to making fakes, showing a peaceful Chile with Pinochet slogans embroidered oo them, in order to offset the effects of the originals! This profile is a powerful reminder that although fear, hunger, aod poverty persistently plague the Chilean people, the women remain a highly visible and effective resistance force against the dictatorship. Overall, Women aod Aging, like Look Me In the Eye, is an invaluable addition to the emerging feminist literature oo older women. Both books could be used as supplemental texts in a variety of Women's StudiCI courses. They also make pleasurable and challenging personal reading, and would be ideal gifts for women friends of any age. The same caooot be said of Io Her Prime: A New View of Middle-Aged Women, a cross-cultural collection of studies that are, for the most part, written in the dry, clinical style of textbooks aod readers published exclusively for traditional academic audiences. This book is oot ooly misleadingly titled, but disappointing in that it lacks the feminist sensibilities of the first two books reviewed. First, the title is ageist, implying that the woman past mid-life is also past her prime. When older women are occasionally mentioned, it is clear that they are regarded io most cultures as sexles.1, ugly, depeodeot bags - so powerless and sexless in fact, that in one account, an old woman is allowed to wander around in the men's "sacred" house where their masks and ritual objects are stored - a place forbidden to "real" women. Second, the book is not about mid-life women generally, but is a collection of descriptive studies of healthy and active mid-life matrons with mature and successful sons. Third, there is nothing new about the idea that to fulfill woman's traditional role as it has been defined by men may lead to some reward after the children (and especially, the sons) are grown. The book does include a good sampling of studies of successful matrons from small-scale, traditional, intermediate, complex, and industrial societies. Mid-life women who are oot in that category are, however, rendered invisible by the exclusion of studies which describe the life cooditioos of never-married women, childless married women, unmarried mothers, mothers who bore oo sons, mothers whose sons died in their youth or whose soos are unsuccessful as adults, and women who are physically challenged, infirm, or otherwise depeodeot The usefulness of the book is therefore limited, although the foreword claims that these studies "will enable social scientists to assess the similarities and differences in the experiences of middle-aged women in a variety of societies.N
The book also purports to be some sort of "good news" for American women. but it is difficult to figure out just what that good news is. Judith K. Brown states in her introduction that, "Although American middle-aged women are not as sinister or as pitiable as they have been portrayed, they do not share all the advantages enjoyed by matrons in nonindustria.li7.ed societies." The reader who is looking for thole "advantages", however, is unlikely to find them on the following pages. In fact. Patricia Kaufert's contribution negates Brown's claim to greater mid-life advantages in other cultures. Kaufert points out that gains in status, authority, and mobility are all relative to the low status and powerlessness of the same women when younger. 'They are also dependent on a woman successfully completing the earlier stages of her life according to her group's prescriptions," she notes. In many societies, she must have been a virgin at marriage and fertile within marriage. '1n all these societies," Kaufert tells us, "a woman without sons (more particularly an infertile woman) cannot enjoy the rewards of mid-life as honored bead of an encoded family household" She also points out that as women gain in strength and self-assurance with age, they are also increasingly resented and feared Their authority within the family is woo by sacrificing their sexuality, and "their symbolic status is both witch and sibyl" Most of the studies in this book betray the "good news" theme, although it is good that some women manage to survive the social practices that put their lives in jeopardy from birth on: female infanticides, child marriages to men 7-15 years their senior, Pbaraonic circumcisions, infibulations, reinfibulations, severe beatings by male kin and abusive mothcrsin-law, and suicides. While cross-cultural violence against women is relegated to the background in this book, to read it as a feminist is to be filled with a sense of wonder that any woman in such cultures reaches middle age with her health and sensibilities intact.
The book is also repetitive and disjointed, a problem which could have been eliminated with better editing and a more illuminating commentary by the editors. It is repetitive in the sense that we read of ·culture after culture in which the sphere of women at mid-life is limited to traditional "feminine" roles. They organiz.e, plan, cook, and clean for religious or holiday celebrations and family reunions. They make and sell traditional crafts. They take care of their grandcbildren and their aging parents. They influence politics, but arc not allowed to hold office. They arc expected, in most cases, to be asexual in their public demeanor and personal life. They may help out with, or take over their husband's bUliness when be dies, and a few start succeaful busineaes of their own. There arc no mavericks, no rebels, no rc-cisters in these pages, and the absence deadens the work as a whole. The book is disjointed in that the studies are authored by medical and cultural anthropologists, primatologists, and a developmental psychologist - each writing within the framework of her or bis discipline, and often using highly technical language peculiar to that discipline. In Her Prime might have been an integrated cross-disciplinary collection, but the reader's flow of thought is continually disrupted by both the lack of continuity between the studies (aside from their repetitiveness), and the inclusion of both androcentric and feminist views with no editorial guidance about the value or purpose of providing such polari?.Cd perspectives. This is unfortunate for those authors whose analyses are informed by a feminist sensibility and who write with particular clarity. Overall, In Her Prime comes across as fairly dry conventional scholarship with little to offer the feminist reader. The studies by Dorothy Ayers Counts, Michael Lambek, Virginia Kerns, Douglas Raybeck, and Patricia Kaufert are, however, notable exceptions. Editors' Note: Spinsters, Ink is now Spinsters/Aunt LUie, P.O. Box 410687, San Francisco, CA 94141. (415)-558-9655.
Growin& Up Female: Adolescent Girlhood In American Fiction. By Barbara A. White. Contributions in Women's Studies, No. 59 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1985)
By SM.Jan Koppelman, St. Louis, Missouri
When I was eleven I wrote my first novel - an adventure tale about a girl and a boy who heroically save Israel from her enemies by their bravery and cleverness. In the book, they are Sabras. But really they were me and my friend Paul Like us, my heroes were great friends. F.acb excelled in different, complementary ways. Theirs was a non-hierarchical partnership.
Once they succeeded in their heroic deeds, their identity became known to the government and the general public. The time for their rewards arrived And that is where I stopped writing my first novel forever. I could not figure out what reward any society I could recogni7.e or imagine would be willing to give a girl that a real girl like me would want I
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knew love and marriage were supposed to be the kinds of rewards girls wanted and got, but she (I) was too young for marriage (which looked to me like the end of Real Life anyway), romance seemed weird and boring (I still went to Saturday matinees and booed when the mushy stuff came on towards the end of an otherwise perfectly good adventure1 and sex seemed positively disgusting. There were simply no rewards available for my bera, no matter bow heroic she might have been, and no matter on whose or what's behalf. For when a girl becomes an adolescent there is no turning back from impending womanhood and there seemed to be no rewards for women in this world I still wonder from time to time bow I might finish that book. Barbara White bas written a book about some of the important novels of female adolescence finished and published in this country by adult women. And I see that I wasn't wrong - there are no rewards in the real world for adolescent girls that anyone in her right mind would really want When I first read Sylvia Plath's novel The Bell Jar, I read somewhere that Plath bad called the book a pot boiler. I always found that an apt description of the book. It is a book that reads to me like a genre novel, a romance or a gothic or a whodoneit I used to laugh when I thought of The Bell Jar as a pot boiler because I knew that most people wouldn't think. of it that way just because the pot was still mostly empty. Well, Plath was right about her book being a pot boiler. But I was wrong about the pot being mostly empty. It is in fact only one of hundreds of novels about girls growing through adolescence to womanhood: the female bildungsroman :lnd kunstlerroman exist in abundance. "-the image of the cage, or the trap, is the most common image in novels of female adolescence." Barbara White tells us that women writing about female adolescence in this country for the last two hundred years have always known that there is a difference between womanhood and adulthood and that girls have always known and been torn by that difference, yearning to become adults, yet dreading to become women because female adulthood entails the lou of identity: In novels where the adolescent heroine does not clearly lose her identity, her ultimate fate is usually left undefined; she remains in conflict with society and divided within herself. The reader does not know whether the protagonist will be reconciled to growing up . . . whether she will adjust outwardly and continue to rebel inwardly, or whether she will become mentally ill. Orowing Up Female: Adolescent Oirlhood In American Fiction is a radical political work of feminist literary criticism. It will be read as a model of both method and style, for pleasure, instruction, consolation, and as a bibliographic resource. It is a work of what I
think. is getting called "thematic" criticism by people who don't like it People who like it just call it Feminist Criticism. It is literary criticism based on feminist political theory which starts with an understanding that women as a class are oppressed. It is imformed by a clear understanding that individuals live in history. It is materialist, but not Marxist It is a book that avoids the distractions of ego psychology. In her comments on Carolyn Heilbrun's point that "women writers have failed to imagine women characters with the strength and autonomy they themselves have achieved, instead revealing an urge toward the destruction and denial of female destiny," White warns about "the dangers of going too far with the psychological approach." She asserts that "female adolescence is a social state characteriz.ed by weaknea" White looks at female adolescent protagonists in 200 years of American women's novels and she asks questions about the books and their heroines that take into account issues of class, race, sexuality, region, looks, ethnicity, and the period during which the book was written. Orowing Up Female serves the same purpose that introductions to short story or poetry collections serve, ie., it points out the patterns and contexts shared among a selected group of literary works. The editor bas thought these similarities salient enough to warrant considering these works together. White's study is limited to novels written by American women for adult readers about female adolescents between the ages of twelve and nineteen. Two chapters are devoted to a general survey of such novels. One is based on a reading of some two hundred books published between 1920 and 1972 and the next extends the survey to the present with its study of novels about "the new girls." In three chapters White discusses in depth the work of three representative novelists who are "respected" (ie. "approved of' by patriarchal literary historians) and who, during their careers, demonstrated particular interest in the adolescent female, devoting more than one novel to such characters. These chapters study Ruth Suckow's fiction of adolescence (1925-34), Carson McCuller's The Member of the Wedding (1946), and Jean Stafford's The Mountain Lion (1947~ The first chapter of the book defines the concept and traces the history of the American novel of adolescence, considering the relationship between the nineteenth century emergence of adolescence as a concept and a stage of life and the development of fiction about that stage of life. White surveys works of social, economic, and family history as well as literary studies of adolescence by writers and literary historians and critics.. She summarizes adolescence as "a modem phenomenon, . . . charactcriz.ed by conflict" It is a "lengthy period of low status wherein the adolescent lacks the economic, political, social, and sexual privileges of an adult" This period is seen as temporary for males and as one that "portends a future of continued secondary status" for females. She concludes that '1n novels of female adolescence conflict over gender identity is the major theme."
White filters a number of literary critical approaches to the novel of adolescence through her clear and unyielding vision of women as a class oppressed by the patriarchy. She is equally ironic about and dismissive toward all the perspectives that assume the normativeness of male experience. She translates any number of jargonistic critics into clear English and then, once what they have said is revealed in its simplest form, it ceases to have any authority. For instance: According to Hassan in bis influential book Radical Innocence (1961), the situation of the adolescent protagonist "reflects the predicament of the self in America." The image "he" presents is ''the new image of man in contemporary fiction." The youthful hero, once portrayed as an initiate being confirmed into a viable mode of life in society, has been merging with the figure of the "rebel-victim," a combination of Prometheus and Sisyphus. His outstanding quality is radical innocence, "radical" meaning both deeply rooted and extreme and "innocence" the "innocence of a Self that refused to accept the immitigable rule of reality, including death, an aboriginal Self the radical imperatives of whose freedom cannot be stifled." The awarenca of the hero or anit-hero is "supremely existential" He performs "gratuitous actions which refer to no accepted norm" (the need to act precisely because action is no longer intrinsically meaningful), makes "demonic gestures," and compulsively engages in violence as a form of world negation. Although one suspects that Hauan is talking about male heroes and anti-heroes, it may appear that we could apply bis comments to female adolescent protagonists. Surely the young heroines I have discussed can be cbaracteri.7.ed as "rebel- victims" and while they can hardly perform gratuitous actions until they learn how to act, they at least make gestures of protest If, as Hassan suggests, schizophrenia is the ticket to modern herodom, female protagonists have earned their admission. However, the trouble with Has.un's theory in regard to female novels of adolescence is that girls' primary rebellion cannot be considered existential in the way he means.. Has.un's modern hero makes an existential choice to be a rebel-victim. He becomes a victim only by taking a stance as a victim; be rebels against the "immitigable rule of reality," that is, the human condition. The young heroine, on the contrary, is a real victim; she rebels not because her human body is doomed, by immitigable rule of reality, to imperfection and death, but because her female body, by mitigable rule of society, dooms her to subservience. Chapter Two examines nineteenth century female adolescent prototypes. Chapter Three is a study of Edith Wharton's Summer (1917), which White sees as a transitional novel "standing between ... earlier fiction
with its Good Girl heroines and the modern novel of adolescence." Growing Up Female does for this reader what all important works of literary criticism must do: it enhances all of literature by providing a new fulcrum from which to engage in the act of understanding. Reading this book made me understand something new about the short stories by U.S. women writers I have been reading these last fourteen years. It made me flip through the stories stored on my brain disk (is it a bard one? a floppy one?) and rethink many of them, including Mary Antin's great story, "Mallnka's Atonement" (191ti (I will be publishing it in an upcoming collection of storiea.) I auddenly realized that what adolescent female Malinka's reward was for her heroism was permission and support to pursue the vocation to which she was called - to be a scholar. Similar is the story of the vocation of poet in Suzette Hayden Elgin's 1969 fantasy "For The Sake of Grace." If there is a reward for an adolescent female hero, it must be to become able to ascend to one's vocation. That seems to be Molly Bolt's reward in Rubyfruit Jungle - she is on her way to becoming a film director at the end of Rita Mae Brown's book. White concludes her discuwon of the novel: Despite the discrimination she faces as a woman and as a lesbian, she approaches the future with confidence and seems well on the way to achieving her adolescent goal of becoming a film director. The novel ends: "One way or another I'll make those movies and I don't feel like having to fight until rm fifty, but if it does take that long then watch out world because I'm going to be the hottest fifty-year-old this side of the Mississippi." I usually advise people against reading literary criticism. There is too much real literature to read Besides, literary criticism is usually written in a speciali.7.ed language that requires specialized learning. And since those special languages can't be used for anything useful, like ordering a meal, finding a bathroom, or fomenting a feminist revolution, I figure why bother. If literary critics really care to communicate their ideas about the literature they have read and presumably loved to other readers, I assume they would write clearly and simply. As it is, they use as bastardized a form of English as do the people writing the instruction books that come with off-brand foreignmade computers. Anyone whose high-school diploma is a genuine certification of 12th grade literacy can read Barbara White's Growing Up Female and know exactly what she is talking about This literary critic writes for real readers, that is, for people who do not make their living from making literature a mystery, but people who read because they want to. White is not afraid that
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writing clear, understandable prose will make her ideas appear trivial. No Frenglish for White! This is a volume of thematic criticism. Practitioners of this mode of analysis are often dismiaed with contempt lately. Since the combination of ridicule, denial of competence, and careful ignoring are the traditional silencing tools all oppressors direct towards those whose words and modes of thought present the liveliest threat to them, we can conclude that Those with Power are threatened by thematic criticism. Therefore, I suggest that we do lots of it Furthermore, Growing Up Female is the work of a feminist librarian, whose approach to literature seems to be governed by somewhat different sets of imperatives and sensitivities than those writing from the stance of professor/scholar. The ease with which she presents material absorbed from the reading of hundreds of novels and douns of critics is impressive. She is obviously a practitioner of the "total immersion"
approach to the study of literary phenomena that characteri7.CS the work of Nina Baym, Annis Pratt, Annette Kolodny, myself, and others who think it is important to berome familiar with just what our literary heritage consists of before we say anything final about what it means or does. Wh,ite's excellent, useful earlier work American Women Writers: An Annotated Bibliography of Criticism (1977) as well as the bibliography and notes in Orowing Up Female make clear White's intellectual, theoretical, and literary sources. And I see in the present volume the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier one - thorough familiarity with an immense body of material, profound thoughtfulness, a feminist vision of a bleak social reality, and a feminist vision of a transformed society. I recommend this book as the core reading for courses and study groups about female adolescence in any number of academic disciplines: literature, sociology, women's studies, history, social work, guidance, and counselling.
Livill& With Death
Exploding Into Life. Ten by Dorothea Lynch; Photographs by Eugene Richards. New York: Aperture, 1986. A Death of One's Own. By Gerda Lerner. Madison: University of Wisconsin Pns, 1985.
By Carol Bininger, College of Nursing, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Oerda. Lerner's A Death of One's Own and Exploding Into Life by Dorothea Lynch and Eugene Richards are books about living with death. Lerner writes about living through her husband's death from a malignant brain tumor; Lynch and Richards document Dorothea's living with her breast cancer. The title of Lynch and Richard's book, Exploding Into Life, suggests that Dorothea somehow manages to overcome the cancer which bas invaded her body, but she does not Along with Dorothea, we experience the unfairness of a young woman, 34 years old, having her life shortened by breast cancer. The photographs throughout the diary-like book reinforce that unfairness, as well as add a realism missing from other books about cancer. The photographs of Dorothea and others confront the ugly realities which often accompany devastating illness. Dorothea was concerned that she and other women know so little about the illneaes that afflict them. She was determined to depict the details of her 4 year experience with cancer, both as a means of coping and as a means of instructing other women about what they might expect. Dorothea writes: Vietnam veterans are on television tonight talking of having frequent bouts of depression
and terrifying dreams, bow their lives are being bent and broken . . . . [Their experience is not so different from Dorothea's.) Ood knows, of course, this cancer of mine is not over. I'm scared and rm confused. Maybe a little crazed My mother and some of my friends have even suggested that for my own good I give up thinking and writing so much about cancer. But l can't stop, don't dare stop. If I am ever to gain control over my life and contribute something to other people, I must learn more and more about the ''big C." Anyway, l would be better off knowing, rather than not knowing, what the future bolds for me. As Dorothea's life unfolds, post diagnosis, she is surprised and dismayed to discover how self-centered she becomes at times. Insignificant events berome major. Resuming a "normal" daily routine beromes a monumental task. Dorothea feels isolated and groaly misunderstood by those who love her most Reordering her values becomes important to Dorothea as she reali1.CS that she does not have the other 44 years of life promised by the insurance companies. Each day beromes increasingly important because there is no longer a life-time of days left There is no time to bear or rear children. None to
more fully develop her career or to form new relationshi~ Each day must now be as full and as fruitful as powble. Dorothea's desire to study others like herself with cancer was the result of her urge to make each day count After months of meeting with unreceptive medical boards and private physicians, Dorothea and Eugene secure permission to "research how it is for others who live with cancer." In the p r ~ of making daily rounds with medical staff, Dorothea becomes attached to those she studies. Her own mortality becomes more apparent to her and to Gene. Although there are many "scares" post-surgery, Dorothea manages to regain a semblance of normalcy until she discovers a second lump. She writes: I sit here crying. unable to pull myself together. My eyes are swollen and my mouth stings with salt The second shoe has finally dropped . . . . An aspiration into two lymph glands shows malignant cells. By Autumn 1983, Dorothea is gone. Dorothea believed that cancer is a disease of life, not a disease of death - thus the title of the book: Exploding Into Life. Published in 1986 by Eugene, Dorothea's diary documents her daily struggle with living, not dying. Her struggle is the struggle of many women and men who discover that their world is overturned by diseases which rob them of life and vitality. Theirs becomes a search for meaning in the life they have left In A Death of One's Own, Gerda Lerner records her journey through her husband's p r ~ of dying. Gerda introduces her work with these words: (T)his has become an account of my own experience with death, with the death of those I have loved, and this one very special and overwhelming death. What I hope for is to banish and conquer fear; my own fear and terror of the unknowable and irrational, of uncontrollable disaster. Implicitly, also, the fear all of us share as we try to avoid dealing with death, as we ritualize it and try to minimize its impact on our lives. Thus Gerda's work records her daily struggle with her husband's 18 months of dying and her reworking of the deaths of other loved ones. Gerda and her husband, Carl, struggle with how much to reveal to one another about how each experiences the other's need or lack of need to ''know." Gerda knows that Carl's time is limited. It takes her 6 months to realize that if she does not come to grips with death as a part of life, she and Carl will
both be left isolated, helpless, and unable fully to shape the remaining life that Carl has left Gerda faces her own discomfort with death. She notes: Our culture makes it difficult for the individual to accept the fact of death and to die with dignity. The isolation of the dying from the living, our denial and ignorance of their needs and their plight, corrode our living existance, harrass us with fear and weight us down with guilt . . . . The experts are wrong. By denying the patient the truth we don't make his end easier. We cushion the shock to ourselves. The dying must be accepted into the community of the living until they are actually dead; we must stop their cruel and unnecessary isolation . . . . It is his death, not ours. Every man and woman has the right to his or her own death. One discovery that Gerda makes is that, contrary to "expert" advice, she must continue her life with some semblance of normalcy. Making Carl the sum total of her life did neither of them any good Each had to live the life that each had - and not dwell on what it was they wouldn't have. Another discovery that Gerda makes is that she cannot do everything for Carl by herself. She needs assistance. Once she seeks assistance, Gerda and Carl have little privacy -- a great loss to both of them. In accepting that she needs help, Gerda learns that she need not experience Carl's death in isolation. She comes to view Carl's dependency as a gift, a way of "celebrating" his mortality and then transcending it by graciously accepting the efforts of others to minister to him. As Carl's health deteriorates, Gerda faces the difficult task of freeing Carl to choose death over life. Gerda must grapple with her desire for Carl to live and her wish for him to die. Once Carl decides that it is time for him to be allowed to die, he and Gerda both experience the relief that comes with malting an important decision. However, contrary to what they had been told about Carl's dying, it took Carl several agonizing weeks to die rather than the peaceful three days they had been promised During those agonizing weeks, Gerda struggles to allow Carl the decision he made. The central theme of both books is that one must be allowed to be in control of one's own life to the very end Life is for the living, and living does not cease until one finally dies. Both Gerda and Dorothea come to this realization as they struggle with the meaning of death and how life and death merge into a reiterating pattern from generation to generation. The strength displayed by Dorothea and Gerda is a mirror of the strength of countleu women who have faced, and are facing, their own deaths or the deaths of those significant to them.
I
Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy. By Judith C. Brown (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986)
By Leila Rupp, Department of History, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
I wish we knew exactly what Sister Benedetta Carlini, Abbess of the Convent of the Mother of Ood and the "lesbian nun" of Immodest Acts, thought and felt about her sexual relationship with Sister Bartolomea Crivelli. ~udith Brown has done a magnificent job of reconstructing the story of Benedetta's rise to local fame as a mystic and her subsequent fall into ignominy through exposure as a dupe of the devil, a fraud, and a seducer of her companion. Brown's research and analysis is meticulous, her storytelling compelling, and the documents themselves a treasure. We get an extraordinary glimpse into the world of a 17th-century convent But what we cannot know is frustrating: Benedetta's own feelings and intentions remain shrouded in mystery. Brown discovered the documents of Benedetta's church trial by accident in the State Archive of Florence. , ~e records . of the investigations into Benedetta s vistons and stigmata do give her a voice, but we only hear her answering questions put to her by church officials, or we hear reports from other nuns of what she said in her trances. Brown has gathered all the information available about Benedetta and made judicious.~ of. secondary works on convents, mysticism, and lesbianlSDl Ill order to provide every possible angle on the case. But some questions cannot be answered.
Brown begins Benedetta's story with her birth in
15W in a mountain village near Florence. Brown
suggests that clues to Benedetta's later behavior might
lie in her privileged childhood as the much-loved
daughter ~f a ~elatively well-off father who provided
her education hunself. Brown emphasiz.es the fact that
Benedetta grew up feeling special and had to work to
carve where
out her
for herself a similar role in the father delivered her at the age of
cnoinnveen~t
accordance with a promise made to Ood during
Benedetta's difficult birth. She began to have visions
and the~ to suffer. an undiagnosed malady; eventually
she received the stigmata, exchanged hearts with Jesus,
and became the bride of Jesus at a public ceremony
prescri~ in her visions. As a result of her special
connection to Ood, she preached sermons while in a
trance (something ordinarily denied to women) received
local recognition, and eventually was elected ~bbess of
her convent
But there were troubling irregularities in Benedetta's behavior. Although in some ways she conformed to the pattern of female mystics, in other ways she did not While in her trances, for example, Jesus used her voice to speak words of extravagant
praise for her; furthermore, he threatened the nuns and warned the townspeople that their fate was in Benedetta's hands. None of this was quite seemly, so following Benedetta's mystical marriage, a local church official ordered an investigation. This first investigation, which Brown describes in A detail, concluded that Benedetta was a true visionary despite the problematic aspects of her behavior. second investigation, which led to her downfall, did not come for another two years. Brown relates it in part to the death of Benedetta's father which left her with "no one in whose heart she held the special place that she had held in his." One of her guardian angels began to prophesy her death; shortly thereafter she died, only to be brought back to life by the voice of her confessor. On returning to life, Benedetta reported that she had gone to heaven, where Jesus told her that the nuns would join her if they behaved properly. Brown speculates that this episode must have created resentment and fear among Benedetta's sisters. As abbess, she .already held great power over them, and now she clauned control over their fate in the afterlife. Whether a dispute over Benedetta's reelection as abbess or some other event triggered the second investigation we do not know, but the nuncio sent his officials to the convent Benedetta did not fare so well in this investigation by outsiders. The papal officials grew suspicious of Benedetta's visions because of their content and her character. Further questioning turned up reports of fraud: sisters ha~ seen Benedetta secretly fetching food that she claimed she could not eat, smearing her own blood on a statue of Jesus that she claimed began to bleed in honor of her sanctity, and using a needle to scratch the marks she claimed she received from Jesus. But worst of all, the investigators beard testimony from Benedetta's companion, Bartolomea Crivelli, that Benede!ta had, while in a trance, engaged in "immodest acts" with her. The material on the two nuns' relationship, if it can ~ called that, is skimpy. Brown vividly depicts the shocking nature of the charges by describing the impact on the scribe's handwriting as he attempted to record the details. According to Bartolomea. Benedetta, in the persona of her !Dale guardian angel Splenditello, forced her to engage Ill sexual acts. These she described in detail - presenting the investigators with the problem of defining what kinds of sins they constituted. Bartolomea protected herself by claiming that she was forced and that Splenditello told her that they were not committing a sin. But she also explained that she had
kept silent out of shame, thus contradicting her own ~rtion that the acts bad been sinle~ Benedetta, of course, could not testify about the sexual acts at all, since she engaged in them during a trance and presumably remembered nothing afterwards. Brown does not dismiss the ~ibility that these were forced sexual encounters, as Bartolomea insisted, but she also considers the evidence of Bartolomea's ambivalence. Possibly Bartolomea was both attracted to and ashamed of a sexual relationship that gave both women warmth and companionship as well as sexual pleasure. Benedetta, through Splenditello, expressed her love for Bartolomea, and the love of an older and powerful woman may have bad its attractions. Here, as throughout, Brown is thorough and careful In her investigation and speculation, making use of anthropological and psychological theory as well as the work: of other historians of early modern culture to try to make sense of the evidence. Benedetta's assumption of a male angelic persona is, of course, especially significant Splenditello served the function not only of justifying sexual behavior in violation of Benedetta's vow of chastity, but also of obscuring the lesbian nature of their sexual acts. My only disagreement with Brown's interpretations - and it may be only a matter of emphasis - surfaces at this point She suggests that Benedetta's sexual relations with Bartolomea, despite the fact that she could have found male partners, do not represent a "clearly articulated choice," since the "only sexual relations she seemed to recogniz.e were those between men and
women." But she did choose Bartolomea, even though she took: on a male persona. It is important not to equate the assumption of a male identity or cultural style - as in the cases of cross-drewng or butchfemme roles -- with heterosexuality.
The investigators concluded that Benedetta's visions and actions were the work: of the devil. On their last visit to the convent, they found her a model nun who no longer saw visions and who accepted that she bad been deluded by Satan. The official record stops there. Brown was only able to learn of Benedetta's fate through the diary of another nun, who recorded that Benedetta died in 1661 after 35 years in prison. Brown argues that this penalty was probably the result of her non-sexual transgressions; Bartolomea seemed to receive no punishment at all.
What do we learn about lesbian history from
Benedetta's story? We know what they did, which is
rare enough. We know what the church officials
thought - and that they did not punish behavior that
fit into the category of sodomy with the death penalty.
But we still know very little about the consciousnesses
of the two women. Bartolomea was afraid, and
Benedetta obscured her love and sexual desire, probably
even from herself, with her male angelic persona. That
we do not learn more about the women's
consciousnesses
a central concern of women's
historians and, especially, lesbian historians -- is
unfortunate. Nevertheless, Judith Brown has turned an
accidental find into a fascinating contribution to the
women's history and lesbian history literature.
In Her Own Right: The Life of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. By Elisabeth Griffith (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985)
By Kathy Casto, Departmen: of English, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Freedom was good enough to have been everything to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, at least according to Elisabeth Griffith, her most recent biographer. As much as to what Stanton achieved for women in her lifetime, Griffith is attentive to her struggle to place herself beyond the roles established by the "cult of true womanhood" and beyond the opinions of her own friends, relatives, and husband While Griffith does try to complete the factual record by giving Stanton much of the credit for the rhetoric and theory underlying nineteenth-century American feminism, the author's greater emphasis is on Stanton's personal struggle to be the "self-sovereign" that she called on all women to recogniz.e in themselves. Griffith's method is designed to empbasiz.e female role modeling; she treats the lives of various people after whom Stanton modeled herself, and similarly presents Stanton as a role model for contemporary feminists.
As Griffith interprets the events that led to the establishment of NAWSA and, ilowly, to suffrage, Stanton emerges as a remarkably forward-looking feminist whose radical views eventually estranged her from the organi7.ation she helped to found Though the more conservative Anthony has been the focus of public attention - an emphasis that was, according to Griffith, conscious strategy on the part of Anthony's proteges Stanton provided much of the intellectual force behind the early women's rights movement For the 1848 Seneca Falls meeting that marked its beginning in America, Stanton prepared the Declaration of Rights and Sentiments, a document rooted in the natural rights doctrine of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries which ~rted women's right to vote. According to Griffith, it was also Stanton who recruited Anthony to the woman's cause and provided her future colleague with the direction and inspiration to become its leader:
In the beginning Stanton provided the ideas, rhetoric and strategy; Anthony delivered the speeches, circulated petitions, and rented the halls . . . . When Stanton was overwhelmed with public and private demands, Anthony installed herself in Seneca Falls, supervised the children, and "stirred the puddings" while Stanton wrote without interruption at the dining room table . . . . According to Henry Stanton, Susan stirred the puddings, Elizabeth stirred up Susan, and then Susan "stirs up the worldr' Or as Mrs. Stanton put it, "I forged t!te thunderbolts, she fired them." Stanton continued to insist on women's suffrage even when most reform organizations - and most reform-minded politicians -- were concerned almost exclusively with winning the vote for Black men. Stanton eventually became notorious among fellow radicals for her a.~rtion that educated women should be given the vote before "ignorant" immigrant,; and slaves. She and Anthony actually argued for the defeat of the Fifteenth Amendment becau.[t is this ability to disregard popular op101on and to internalize her own ethical code that appeals to Griffith and makes her book a real "great woman's" history. Using Stanford psychologist Albert Bandura's social learning theory, Griffith analyzes Stanton's self-education by tracing her gradual abandonment of restrictions imposed by those whose approval she desired but whose standard,; did not allow for her increasing appetite for independence. Certainly Stanton did want to be admired: in her writings, she bru."ihed over her philosophical breaks with her father and her husband; and in her public appearances, she played the matriarch -- the untiring reformer who is as expert at running a large home as she is at conducting a drive for suffrage. Griffith's evidence for the picture of the self-directed queen that she wishes to present is mixed Yet underneath Stanton's failings -- her selfishness, her occasional elitism, her wish to provide a pleasing facade - is the clear outline of a life that inspires. This is a vigorous, sharp-eyed, and sharp-witted woman. This is a vigorous, sharp-witted book as well. Its forceful presentation, its drive to explain details that have been purposefully hidden, its pleasure in Stanton's extreme life and habits would have won the approval of its subject. Fortunately, Griffith does not share in the latter's shortcomings. Though Stanton's children attempted "to whitewash their mother into respectability" by altering and destroying documents, and though Stanton herself presented only a factually dubious self-portrait in her autobiography, Griffith's narrative is full, engaging, and thoroughly documented. Though she clearly admires Stanton, the author pays enough attention to her subject's flaws to have created the vivid portrait of a courageous woman instead of a lifeless paragon. As Stanton perhaps would have hoped. I leave the book thinking about what people these must have been: Lucretia Mott, the Quakeress who insisted upon women's right to equal participation in the abolitionist societies to which she devoted her life: Anthony. driving Stanton to produce and relentless in her own demands for suffrage above all else; Stanton herself, harassing NAWSA to be more radical in its aspirations and, in her eighties, finishing two volumes of The Woman'~ ~ible and her own autobiography. What tremendous audacity, I think after reading of Anthony striding into a United States Centennial celebration to interrupt the male speaker with a letter from Stanton. What dignity and what empowering zeal.
.......
An Afro-Victorian Feminist: The Life and Times
of Adelaide Smith Casely Hayford 1868 . 1960.
By Adelaide M. Cromwell
·
(London: Frank Cass and Co. Ltd., 1986)
By Claire Robertson, Department of History and Center for Women's Studies, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Adelaide Smith Casely Hayford was a remarkable woman, both a product of her time and a woman who surpassed i~ From a prominent Sierra Leonean family, she was raJsed and educated mostly in England That upbringing gave her a typical dose of Victorian morality, race-consciousne~ and piety. However she rose above discrimination to develop a pride in h~rself and her African heritage, as illustrated in her creative dramas and writing, and in her desire to perpetuate that pride through a girls' school she founded and ran in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Any brief biographical entry would probably classify her as an "educator " but that is not sufficient. She travelled in the 1920s to the US. to raise funds for the Girls' Vocational and Ind_ustrial Training ~hool It was a fabulous trip which brought her into contact with most prominent Afro-Americans of the day (including W.E.B. Du Bois, Mrs. Booker T. Washington, and Paul Robeson) and their edu~tio~ institutions (Tuskegee, Hampton, Howard University), as well as many prominent white Americans (including Jane Addams and many New York philanthropist womeni In effect, she seems to have developed a larger reputation abroad than she had at home _in Sierra Leone. Her renown was abetted by her marriage to J.E. Casely Hayford, a prominent Oold Coast lawyer and political nationalist in West Coast African politics. Her various activities took her abroad frequently, although she spent the latter part of her long life in Sierra Leone. . ~dela_ide C~omwe~I has a well-chosen subject, then, m this pioneering biography of the first educated African woman to tour the United States. She has executed the _project. very well indeed, coming from a background m soc10Iogy to a basically historical endeavor. She illuminates a slice of Creole life and times, as well as women's realities which have h~ret~fore. been al_most pointedly ignored by prominent h1stonans m the field (Fyfe and Spitzer, to name two). Her analysis is sensitive and critical where it needs to be; she catches occasional inaccuracies and sel~-servingness in Adelaide Casely Hayford's Memoirs, which are used plentifully and to good effect throughout, as well as correspondence and interviews with contemporaries. The overall impression left is one of judicio~ balance in _Cromwell's point of view, tempered with an empathetic awareness of the plight of the perpetually strapped Cascly Hayford whose ambitions always outran the amount of cash needed to realize them. Cromwell's evenhandedness is all the more remarkable in that she herself is a member of a not dissimilar Black elite which faces similar problems
in establishing its own identity against the odds and despite relative poverty. Thus the importance in both cases of education in establishing status, which makes the ~tudy of Adelaide Smith Casely Hayford's educational role even more important, is shown. The book, while it is perhaps defective in not dealing in a sufficiently sociological manner with Creole society in general, nevertheless contains wonderful portra.its of individuals besides its chief protagonist. Fo~ instance, there are chapters exploring Adelaide Smith Casely Hayford's relationships with her husband, J.E. Casely Hayford, and her daughter, Gladys Casely Hayford Hunter, a creative poet and actress. These are particularly well done as they chronicle both the individuality and typicality of the relationships. The Casely Hayfor~' marriage (her first and his second) was made for practical reasons as well as inclination. Both were older, and he needed a stepmother for his son Archie. The marriage effectively lasted four years o; so, producing the one daughter, a stepmother who p~ayed a strong role in raising young Archie, and a ~tter~ess and estrangement which lasted until Casely died. in. 1930. Cromwell analyzes the relationship in detail insofar as the sources permit, noting the perpetual pleas. for money from Adelaide to Casely, even when their separation had endured some years. Cromwell gives sufficient data to permit a fuller interpretation _th:"1 she gives, based on my own data, that of Christine Oppong on Ghanaian marriage patterns, and Kristin Mann's study of Lagosian elite marriages, Marrying Well. Although Cromwell notes several times that Casely was more African than Adelaide since he came from the indigenous African Gold ~ast elite, she does not draw some logical ~nclus10ns from that fact. Adelaide clearly expected, in accordance with prevailing mores in Creole and British society, that Casely Hayford would support her and ~er .daughter, both during and after the period of cohabitation. Casely Hayford was remiss in this regard pro~ably for two. reasons: 1) as another person whose p~OJCCts outran his cash he had little money to spare hunself, and what he had was likely spent on 'outside' wives as was often the custom, and 2) the expectation even among elite Gold Coast society at that time was that women should be self-supporting. This contrast in Western and African marital expectations caused (and causes) friction in Nigerian and Ghanaian elite marriages which attempted to emulate Western middle class marriage patterns promoted by the missionaries' teachings.
I
By this interpretation (only with the superb data given by Cromwell can I even be so presumptuous as to make an alternative suggestion), Adelaide Smith Casely Hayford was all the more remarkable in that, having been taught to be dependent on males as she, her mother, and her siblings were on their father, she became self-supporting and urged the same on her daughter. Thus, she adapted to the mainstream of West African society, going against Creole ideals. Moreover, with her deeply felt Victorian upbringing, she deplored her necessity for self- support, but at the same time rejoiced in her independence. The same duality is observable among modern Ohanaian elite and American women which gives this biography a contemporary salience of added poignancy. Was Adelaide Casely Hayford a feminist as the title of the book states? Cromwell nowhere defined or discussed feminism so I will use my own definition: being concerned with advancing the collective cause of women and consciousness of being female within male-dominated society. By this definition Adelaide Casely Hayford was partly feminist and partly not, but she was a fascinating mixture. On the one hand, she taught Western-style home economics in the guise of vocational training (she even attempted a "brides"' school) to the daughters of the Freetown elite. She was male-identified in many ways, hobnobbed snobbishly with the Oovernor's circle, was intolerant of parvenus, and denied her daughter's individuality by overdirecting her to marry well and to achieve academically. On the other band, she promoted practical education for girls at a time when both were being ignored, had many
scholarship students in her school, claimed her own Independence (while deploring her "Napoleonic spirit of domination"), and clearly had no doubts about women's capabilities of accomplishing anything they set out to do. She was, then, more feminist than most women of her time, but also and just as importantly, she was more concerned about international equality and Black consciousness than most people of her time. She was involved at different points in her life with the United Negro Improvement Association (the Oarveyltes) and with the Moral Rearmament movement (the Oxford Oroup). She ends her memories by saying, "Never be ashamed of your color" and "be the best type of Black personality you can be." My closing comments concern the book's production and the author's assumptions. Cass publishers should have taken more care in the production of this book. It has many typos and lacks a bibliography. However, a good point is the relevant photographs included. As for the author, Cromwell needed to examine some of her own assumptions a bit more closely. She was surprised that a man verbally attacked Adelaide Casely Hayford in public and considered that this occurred because she was "unprotected," presumably by a male. Cromwell herself, then, ideali:zes males just as Adelaide Casely Hayford did, or perhaps more so. But this is a minor problem in that it does not affect the analysis in a major way. The book is a good read and is well written. I recommend it to anyone wishing further acquaintance with ·West African elite society and its Afro-American counterpart, particularly the women of that society.
Counter Cultures: Saleswomen, Managers, and Customers in American Department Stores, 1890-1940. By Susan Porter Benson (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1986)
By Elizabeth Linder DaGue, Godfrey, lllinois
Scholarly and beautifully documented, this book entertains while it analyzes the interaction between saleswomen, managers, and customers in department stores between 1890 and 1940. Susan Porter Benson shows how this interaction not only shaped major retailing during this time, but also produced a unique work culture and a "new kind of public space for women . . . in which gender characteristics and conduct were a matter of daily struggle." In analyzing this "daily struggle," Benson has produced an important book in an area of women's work that historians are finally beginning to investigate. However, before addressing scholarship, I must mention entertainment. I enjoyed Benson's book because it filled me with nostalgia for the big stores of a bygone era. In her introduction, Benson writes, ''My mother introduced me to the wonders of the department
store, shepherding me from store to store, teaching me more by example than by precept how to shop and rewarding good behavior with a ladylike lunch in one of the store restaurants." Benson also comments that over the years of her research other women have shared similar memories of department stores and their place in women's culture. I too share these memories. Benson's book showed me why today Neiman Marcus's Zodiac Room attracts me for lunch, even though I no longer "shop." Her book evokes this special department store culture that shaped not only my consciousness but also that of many other women. In her analysis of consumerism and culture within the department store, Benson explores several major areas. The first covers the birth of the modern department store, 1850-1890, which for the first time allowed the customer free access to goods, without
obligation to buy. Then Benson shows how retailers, following the lead of factory managers in attempting efficiency, reorganized and standardized stores in ways that affected relationships between saleswomen, customers, and managers. Also, Benson shows how managers attempted to control customers by providing free services and a congenial, home-like atmosphere within the store. Their aim was customer loyalty to their store and the free flow of cash from the customer's pocket to the store's cash register. Then, in her analysis of the attempts of managers to turn the "shopgirl" into a "saleswoman," Benson explores social cJau as it relates to saleswomen, customers, and the milieu of middle-elm gentility that managers tried to project for their stores. Next, Benson places department store selling within the female labor market as a whole. Here she argues that sales work, as opposed to other work available to women at this time, had notable advantages, thus becoming a "Cinderella of occupations." Last, Benson focuses on the selling floor of the department store and examines the relationships of saleswomen to each other, to managers, and to their customers. Arguing that saleswomen's work culture "supported and encouraged varieties of feminism," she shows that such women developed bonds of solidarity and mutual respect. Thus, sex segregation provided a place for self-respect and initiative to grow.
Of particular interest is Benson's analysis of the creation of an ethos of consumption, for store managers vied with one another to sell their goods in the most lavish settings possible and to provide the most extra services that they could conjure up. The use of trade journals here and throughout all the management sections informs Benson's discussion, especially the citations from managers who believed that the luxurious atmosphere of their stores would transform a weary customer into a rested, happy buyer!
Into this suposedly tranquil, middle-class,
department store haven, managers put the saleswoman,
known in the late 19th century by the English term
"shopgirl," considered a pejorative epithet. Women in
retailing during its formative years outgrew this term to
become "salesladies," who learned to control their work
environment, an important aspect of the creation of a
special "counter culture." Although Benson explains this
transformation, in this chapter she limits herself to two
paragraphs on labor relations and problems faced by
early shopgirls because of gender and class. How
ardently I wished for more information on the shopgirl
and her problems, especially since I am writing about
labor history, shopgirls, and Fannie Hurst's fictiorlal
world.
Much of Hurst's work illumines the
heartlessness of that department store world informed
by poor pay, sexual harassment, inhuman working
conditions, and age discrimination.
Benson is
particularly strong, however, in her analysis of the
growth of women's space, women's culture in the
sex-segregated world of the department store.
Another important point that Benson investigates is the relationship of gender and cl:w to the running of the department store, a world composed of female customers and female clerks. Her analysis is quite
astute. In one case she notes the contradictory appeal of the department store to upper and middle classes, an "appeal to bourgeois manners, styles, and pretensions," while soliciting the working person's dollar in bargain basements replete with inferior merchandise and decorations. As Benson points out, scholars are only now beginning to study this new world of consumption and its links to clau and gender. Benson sees consumption as an enduring theme in women's interaction with one another in this drama of the department store. Given the paucity of scholarship until recently on work, gender, and class, Counter Cultures fills a very important need. Finally, Benson argues that "women's historians should frame a broader understanding of women's wage earning experience." Traditionally, scholars have seen women's work as reinforcement of their secondary status, but Benson's broader vision of work includes retail sales, where she argues that this "clerking sisterhood" found role models of strong women who advanced to jobs as buyer or supervisor of personnel Having noted the problems of sales work - low pay, long hours, the entire litany of saleswomen's troubles, Benson states that "department-store selling provided opportunities for . . . [women) to exercise initiative, creativity, and autonomy -- within the limited arena of the department, ... but ... to a greater extent than the vast majority of women in the labor force. Selling skill valued women's culture ...." Counter Cultures invites various readers and uses. Feminists and women's historians will welcome it. Others who should welcome it are economists, social scientists, industrial management or efficiency experts, home economists, and those in retailing and business. This book can be used to supplement some of the early studies on women working in department stores: Helen Campbell's Women Wa e-Worker Their Trades and Their Lives 1887; repr. 1970, Frances R. Donovan's The Saleslady (1929; repr. 1974), and Elizabeth Beardsley Butler's Saleswomen in Mercantile Stores, Baltimore 1902 (1912). However, in spite of its many uses and its important contribution to scholarship on women in the work force, I have one problem with Counter Cultures. I think it prudent to note at this point that Benson's reliance upon various retailing journals (Dry Goods Economist, Journal of Retailing, and others), along with such books as the Busineu Biography of John Wanamaker may not always inform her discuwon of saleswomen. Surely retailing executives writing in "golden books" tend to have a one-sided view if not an Edenic vision of their stores; as proof, I ask the non-believer to skim Golden Book of the Wanamaker Stores, Jubilee Year 1861-1911, an espousal of Earthly Paradise created by a Merchant Prince! What I want to point out is that expecting books like Wanamaker's and publications like trade journals not to emphasize what's right with the world of retailing or how to advance management's views within that world is like expecting the Society for the Advancement of Management to publish articles showing how to abolish management Benson refers to the unreliability of the "golden books."
She also mentions in her introduction that in reading the retailing journals she "heard other voices" of managers as they addre~d typical problems. I hope she hears well. Perhaps overly cautious, I too have "heard other voices," real ones of business and factory managers defending such practices as protective legislation. I recommend mild skepticism and great care in dealing with all representatives of the patriarchy. Nevertheless, Susan Porter Benson's book provides an important analysis of the interaction between
saleswomen, customers, and managers in department stores. Her work shows important insights not only into women's work and culture but also into consumerism. We have only to look as far as the nearest shopping mall to see that consumerism is alive and well to the tune of rock music. Consumerism lives, not only in malls but also on "shopping" channels of our TV sets. His~orians must investigate this culture of consumption as 1t relates to class and gender. Scholarly, beautifully written, and entertaining, Susan Porter Benson's book provides an excellent beginning.
Caribbean Women Writers: Resources for Research
Fifty Caribbean Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. Edited by Daryl Cumber Dance. (New York: Greenwood Press, 1986) The Cross Cultural Study of Women: A Comprehensive Guide. Edited by Margot Dulcy and Mary I Edwards. (New York: The Feminist Press, 1986)
By Glynis Carr, Center for Women's Studies and Department of English, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
U.S. feminists, Black as well as white, have much to learn from the women of the world While this has always been the case, U.S. women have not always had access to the thinking and writing of women of other countries. But now, however, especially since the revolutionary period 1968-1972, third world and non-western women's works are increasingly available to US. readers. Even so, it is not at all easy for us to understand these works. For one thing, we have to struggle against our propensity to appropriate them into o~r. ow~ philosophit:5, to judge and (too often) to IDlSJUdg~ them according to our own cultural categories, assumptions, and biases. On the other hand, when we attempt to learn about third world women in order to put. them and their works into more appropriate, 1nd1genous feminist contexts, information is either missing or so biased and couched in academic jargonese as to be unusable. That is why the appearance of these two books -Fifty Caribbean Writers and The Cross-Cultural Study ?f Women - is so welcome and encouraging. Each is mvaluable: the former for the specific study of the emerging imaginative literature of Caribbean women, and the latter as a general introduction to and bibliography for the study of Caribbean women's lives in cross-cultural perspective. Ten of the writers treated in Fifty Caribbean Writers arc women, a small percentage, to be sure, but a welcome relief from the standard literary historical surveys which more or 1~ exclude them altogether. Included here are biographical essays on women who already have an audience in the U.S. - Jean Rhys, Merle Hodge, Louise Bennett, Sylvia Wynter, and Jamaica Kincaid -- as well as on women whose writings deserve to be better known: Phyllis Allfrey, Dionne
Brand, Erna Brodber, Jean D'Costa, and Marion Patrick Jones. .All the essays do what they set out to do: generate excitement about these writers' lives and works, provide selected bibliographies to facilitate further research, indicate pertinent contexts for interpretation, and offer provocative readings of major works. Some inaccuracies exist - inevitable ones, for bi';>8"aphies of living persons are dated before they sec print Nonethel~, the essays here provide more detailed and timely information than articles in the Contemporary Authors and Contemporary Literature series or in the standard biographical tools of feminist literary studies: Dictionary of National Biography, Dictionary of American Biography, International Dictionary of Women's Biography, Women of Achievement, and Current Biography. The book's format is inviting and easy to use. Editor Daryl Cumber Dance's introduction is a concise, well-documented survey of Caribbean literary history. Aside from Dance's irritating sexist diction (he refers, for example, to "the writer . . . he" and the writer's role as a ''New Adam"), the essay is generally quite good. Dance describes the emergence of Caribbean literature from apparent s.ilence and assimilation before the twentieth century, through its periods of rebellion, assertion, and affirmation in this century. He does a fine job in his overview of the major themes of Caribbean literature, themes which include the power of language, cultural "authenticity," oppression, resistance, and history. His documentation is sound and suggestive: scholars new to the study of Caribbean writers would do well to begin here. The general bibliography at the end of the volume is brief, but well selected. The essays on individual writers are authored by either established writers (e.g., Jean D'Costa writes
about Jean Rhys) or scholars. Each essay follows the same format which includes discussion of the author's biography, her major works and themes, and the critical reception of her work. Also listed are honors and awards. A selected bibliography is provided at the end of each essay (as is discography, too, when appropriate). The essays are arranged alphabetically which, although convenient for the study of individual authors, disturbs the sense of history. I would have preferred a chronological arrangement that would reinforce the emphasis on the connections between writers, literary history, and cultural contexts which Dance's introduction so aptly sketches. Caribbean people are culturally diverse; present are persons of Black, white, Indian, and Chinese heritage. Each island has its own economic, social, and political traditions; each has its own complex history of immigration and slavery, conflict and struggle. Therefore, it is not easy, nor is it always helpful, to generalize about Caribbean women. Yet some patterns are evident in the biographies here. Many of the writers cite an intense Jove of the land as a source of creativity in their lives. Many (though not by any means all) come from wealthy families and most have traveled extensively or been educated in the metropole. The older writers such as AIJfrey and Rhys tended to travel and settle in England and Europe; the younger generation born since the 1940s has tended increasingly to immigrate to the U.S. or Canada. A surprising number of these women are scholars. Many are socialists whose writings are concerned with issues of race and class, as well as gender, and with mechanisms of resistance. Some of the essays in Fifty Caribbean Writers arc among the finest pieces of literary criticism I've seen in some time. Jean D'Costa's reading of Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea is marvelous, centering as it does on the problem of the Self-Other dyad and the phenomenon that one can not hate an Other without also harming the self. Elaine Campbell's essay on Phyllis Allfrey emphasizes the author's concern with the transfer of power from colonizer to colonized It makes me want very much to have Allfrey's uncollected stories be made available in the U.S. a~ soon as possible. For now, I must be content with reading her woman- centered 1953 novel Orchid House. Mervyn Morris's es.c;ay on Louise Bennett was insightful regarding the poet's forms and her use of Jamaican creole; but I found myself wondering what a feminist critic would have said about gender issues in Bennett's work. Morris did a good job underscoring Bennett's concern with the politiL'S of women's skin and hair, but he related it only to her "critic[ismJ of Black self-contempt, fruit of the colonial experience" without reference to the sexual politics of Caribbean women's lives. The essay on Merle Hodge was disappointingly short. Hodge is a radical activist (she worked in Grenada for the Bishop regime before U.S. intervention in 1983), a writer whose literary output has been small so far. Her single novel, Crick Crack, Monkey is a "between two worlds" bildungsroman which examines the destructive process of anglicization. It is an important
representative of a very important genre of Caribbean women fictionists, a genre which includes, among other books, Michelle Cliffs recent Abeng and Kincaid's Annie John. Leota Lawrence, author of the Hodge essay, did a superb job explaining why Hodge was drawn to this theme and why she, like so many other writers, have written so little and are not better known. The essays on D'Costa, Kincaid, and Wynter are also good. The bibliography of Wynter's work in literary criticism should prove especially useful to scholars wanting to place Caribbean women's writings in the context of Caribbean, not U.S. women's critical theories. But no book is without its faults, and Fifty Caribbean Writers is no exception. One of these is that Dance did not fully explain his principle of selection of the authors to be included. I found myself wondering why there were no entries on Rosa Guy, for example, or Michelle Cliff. And the index is far from adequate. I was unable to find in it many Proper names, titles of periodicals, and the like; nor could I easily cross- check interesting leads in the other biographies (did Phyllis Allfrey, for example, publish any women writers besides herself in her journal The Star?). The essay on Marion Patrick Jones was the only overtly disappointing one in the book. I was uncomforta hie with Harold Barratt's distinctly homophobic analysis of one of Jones' female characters who suffers in a relationship with a homosexual man. But these minor faults should not prevent any reader from using Fifty Caribbean Writers to advantage. There is a wealth of information here, information which we need if we are to break with the tradition of North American solipsism and begin to forge intellectual and cultural ties with women in other parts of the world. As l've said before, a real barrier to fully understanding third world women's creative works is not knowing enough about their economic, social, political, and historical contexts. The Feminist Press's recent guide to The Cross Cultural Study of Women should not be ignored, for it can be very helpful to get U.S. readers started in the study of not only Caribbean women, but women from other areas as well. Engaging and provocative, it is a text designed for several constituencies. Teachers perhaps will find it most helpful. Arranged as a series of lesson plans, it identifies in Part I five areas of theoretical concern: the nature vs. nurture debate, the definition of power a~ it bears on the concepts of male dominance, matriarchalism and social organization, colonialism and development, gender stratification, and religion. Within each category, major texts are listed, parameters of critical debate are outlined, problems and disputes summarized, and discussion questions provided Further, lists of additional readings are given at two levels: one for teachers and another for their students. Teachers looking for ways to present this material thoroughly and intelligently will find these sections an invaluable resource. Students and interested others will find them
to be demystified and provocative introductions to difficult topics. Part 11 consists of area studies. Women in India, China, Oceania, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the Islamic Middle East and North Africa are considered The format is the same as in Part I; these leswn plans also contain outlines, annotations, questions, and bibliographies for further reading. The section on Latin America (including, of course, the Caribbean) wa~ impressive. The history of Latin American women from colonial times to the present was presented thoroughly and concisely. without being unnecessarily simplified. Major issues reviewed in the section included whether a commonality of experience existed among women of different cl~s. discus.~ion of the images of women in relation to the status of women, and women in politics, the family, and economics (traditional, socialist, and capitalist econ"mic
systems are treated). A fascinating, suggestive bibliography is included in the section "Latin American Women See Themselves." The other chapters in Part II seem equally comprehensive and well-informed. My only complaint about The Cross Cultural Study of Women is the slight mention of women's activities in the arts throughout the book. We still need a feminist guide to the cross cultural study of women's art and literature. I would, however, recommend this book to anyone -- teacher or student -- interested in an overview of and orientation to feminist critical theory in INTERNATIONAL STUDIES. For those interested in a particular area of the world, it is a u.~ful and time-saving tool. For beginners -- and most of us here in the U.S. are beginners -- any time spent with this volume will he amply repaid in knowledge and insight gained.
l>I~book. By Maxine Klein, Lydia Sargent, and Howard Zinn (Boston: South End Press, 1986)
By Ann C. Hall, Department of English, The Ohio State University, Columbus. Ohio
Drama has always been problematic for female writers. Virginia Woolf, through her fit'tional account of Shakespeare's sister, offers a feasible explanation for the limited number of plays written by women before. during, and after the Renaissance. According to Woolfs scenario, a potential female playwright had trouble surviving, let alone writing plays. Recently, there has been som~ progress, but the appearance of Playbook. a collection of seven plays written predominantly by women, is stiJl an exceptional, if encouraging, occurrence. Unlike the other collections which have appeared in the last ten years, however - notably Rachel France's A Century of Plays by American Women (1979) and Micbelene Wandor's Plays by Women (1982) -- Playbook is a collection with a "political," not a solely "feminist," purpose. Klein, Sargent, and Zinn identify themselves as "political dramatists," those "who consciously reflect the oppressive and liberatory sides of life and so consciously consecrate the heretofore unconsecrated." Although the authors never actually translate this statement, the ideologies which appear in the plays are mostly socialist. One of the limitations of this political m1s.~1on is that theatrical and political concerns become separated rather than interrelated. In their preface, the authors admit that drama is inherently political, that politics and theater are one, but in practice the two are often at war, and characterization is a major casualty. Lydia Sargent is particularly gifted at creating characters who are stilted and who often speak in "political tongues," i.e., jargon. In her adaptation of Agnes Smedley's novel of the same name, Daughter of
Earth, Sargent skillfully manages the difficult transition from the first-person narration of the novel to the dramatic medium. Like Williams's Tom Wingfield of The Glass Menagerie, Sargent's Marie Rogers both narrates and participates in the action of the play. This success is short-lived, however. Once Marie leaves her poor Western roots to become politically active. the play disintegrates into a socialist morality play. and Marie, previously interesting, deteriorates into an abstraction, so much so that even her rape appears perfunctory. The dialogue hastens this decline. Marie looks for the "nobility of existence," "universal consciousne~." and finally proclaims to have found the "knowledge that comes from experience and work that is limitless in its scope and significance." Sargent, unfortunately, has not found such knowledge -- at least not enough to explain what these terms mean exactly. In ! Read About My Death in Vogue Magazine, a mu~c~l satire which chronicles the hh,tory of the femmist movement, Sargent dispenses with individuals altogether. Characters such as "nun," "populist," ''bride." and "student" populate her stage, stereotypes who are not even as interesting as K-Mart mannequins. Though Sargent is not the only contributor guilty of weak characterization, her abuses are the most flagrant This weakness, moreover, makes for bad politics as well as bad drama. In general, audiences rely on characters in order to understand or participate in a play. When these characters are undeveloped, when we do not care about them, we tend to care even less about their beliefs or what they "stand for." The challenge to playwrights, then, is to create characters we care about -- not necessarily ones we like or identify
with, but ones who intrigue us somehow. Because of the emphasis on politics at the expense of characterization, the ideology in many of these plays also suffers. Essentiallv. audiences tend to "throw the baby out with the bath. water," the politics out with the character. The abundance of happy endings in the collection also creates inconsistencies in both the drama and the politics. Since many of the plays are musicals, readers may be accustomed to "happily-ever-after" conclusions. In a musical, no matter how bad the situation, characters generally end "singin' in the rain." For the politics, however, such endings may render ideology impotent. Throughout Windfall, for example, Maxine Klein spends most of her time illustrating the heinous crimes committed by big busine~s: among other things, they dump nuclear and chemical wastes near schools and nursing homes. Up until the end of the play, no one cares, except the heroes, a motley group of unemployed, earthy "folk." By the end, however, there is suddenly renewed faith in a previously nonexistent population called "the people," who, once they are informed about these dumpings by the "good guys," will rise up and make the world a better place to live. Such a conclusion not only taxes the audience's "suspension of disbelief," but it also tends to sugarcoat the problem the play originally set out to uncover. :W~df~!!. finally, implies that the problems of nuclear waste arc difficult. but "the people," whoever they arc. will take care of it all for us. Despite these problems, the collection has some positive qualities. One is that several female leaders serve a.. suitable dramatic subjects. Klein, with the help of composer James Oestereich, creates The Furie~ of Mother Jones, a musical which celebrates this woman's work to unionize West Virginia coal mines. Howard Zinn, in his only contribution to the collection, dramatizes the life of American anarchist Emma Goldman in Emma. And, for the most part, Zinn fulfills Goldman's own requirements for political theater.
In The Social Significance of Modern Drama, Goldman notes that "the average radical is as hidebound by mere terms as a man devoid of all ideas," and she reminds writers and readers that "art speaks a language of its own, a language embracing the entire gamut of human emotions." Because Zinn interweaves scenes from Goldman's personal and public lives, as well as demonstrates that the two were intimately connected, he creates a vibrant character who speaks the language of art, not jargon. Another reason for perusing this volume is that many of the plays experiment with theatrical conventions. Maxine Klein's Split Shift is a good example, and it is the best play in the collection. With her unusual presentation of character, Klein offers a refreshing alternative to the realistic characterization audiences may he accustomed to seeing both on and off Broadway. The play's plot is simple: Billie, a waitress at a fast-food chain, attempts to unionize the restaurants, and the play opens with her in the process of composing a song for the next day's labor rally. Klein complicates the action of the play by creating two other characters -- Billie II and Billie Ill, two other aspects of Billie l's personality. Through the interaction among the three Billies, Klein orchestrates a number of humorous scenes and, more importantly, challenges the idea of a "whole," "complett:" individual, a self without conflict. In the end, it is through this conflict that Billie I completes her song and emerges as a dynamic. not fragmented, woman. Overall, Play~k raises many questions concerning the nature of "political theater." Is theater. for example, only political if it dramatizes S{kCific ideologies and issues? Judging from their plays. Klcin, Sargent, and Zinn respond with a resounding affirmative. Such a response, however. ironically creates what all three authors spend most of their time critiquing in their plays: a hierarchy. In this case dramatic concerns, like characterization, are lost to the "politically correct."
Mary Cassatt and Philadelphia. By Suzanne G. Lindsay (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1985)
By Mary M. Rider, Department of History of Art, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
The foremost American woman artist prior to the 20th century, a leading printmaker and an early champion and colleague of the French Impressionist artists, Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) has long been regarded as an independently-minded expatriate whose move to Paris in 1871 to further her own career caused her artistic reputation to suffer according) y in her hometown of Philadelphia. In Mary CllWltt and Philadelphia, which served as the catalogue for a major exhibition of CllWltt's works held last year at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, curator Suzanne Lindsay
marshals old and new evidence to support her thesis that Cassatt actually maintained s?'ong, continuing personal and professional ties to the city In reviewing family correspondence and papers, much of which remain unpublished, as well as contemporary newspaper articles and exhibition notices. Lindsay attempts to demonstrate the key role played by Cassatt in Philadelphia art circles, both as a frequent exhibitor and as an extremely influential advisor to local art collectors, many of whom were family members and friends.
Although Cassatt remained permanently in Paris (with the exception of three brief return visits to America) and actually sold very few works in Philadelphia during her lifetime, she expres.~d the opinion, late in life, that Philadelphia should actively be cultivated as a major artistic center. Earlier in her career, however, frustrated with what she perceived as lack of public appreciation and the ineptitude of her Philadelphia dealers, Cas.satt had withdrawn entirely from the local art market, vowing never to exhibit in the city again. After 1881, Cassatt sold her works exclusively through the prestigious Durand-Ruel firm of Paris and New York (which also handled many of the French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works), focusing on what she hoped would be more lucrative markets outside Philadelphia. What account'i for the failure of Cassatt's works to sell readily in her hometown of Philadelphia during her lifetime? Lindsay does not address this question directly, although we may infer that Cassatt's early decision to abandon the local art market may have been at least partly to blame. Indeed, Cassatt's works virtually disappeared from local exhibitions in the 1880s and 1890s, and in the first twenty years of her career, only five Philadelphia patrons may be clearly identified, with only about ten works among them. Beginning in 1898, however, Cassatt's dealer, Durand-Ruel, undertook a sustained effort to place her works in local, annual exhibitions, but, again, few were sold or remained in the city. Cassatt's inability to sell in Philadelphia appears even more puzzling if Lindsay is correct in stating that, despite the artist's early objections, she actually exhibited with far greater frequency in Philadelphia than in any other city including Paris, with works appearing in over 40 local exhibitions between the years 1873 and 1927. (Lindsay tells us that Cassatt exhibited in New York only seven times during this same period, but does not, unfortunately, give us the necessary sfatistics for Paris.) Ca~att's apparent difficulties in successfully penetrating the local market are also perplexing in light of the fact that Philadelphia, following the end of the Civil War. had long since established itself as a flourishing artistic center in America, second only to New York. At least one of Philadelphia's most distinguished, nationally prominent collectors, however. early recognized Cassatt's ability as an artist; John 0. Johnson bought On the Balcony in 1880 and later donated it to the Pltiladelphia Museum of Art where it became the first work by Casssatt to enter a public collection in the United States. Cas.'iatt's dearth of sales in Philadelphia may have been tied to local critical reactions to her work which were, as Lindsay demonstrates, mixed. Although as early as 1881, Cassatt's absence from Philadelphia exhibitions was being decried by some local critics (at a time when Cassatt was exhibiting regularly in Paris with the Impres.,;ionists), she was rarely featured in art reviews by the local press. In fact, some of the attention which Cassatt received in the press was not even directed to her achievements as an artist. Reporting on a visit by Cassatt to Philadelphia in 1899,
the society page of the local paper noted chattily that "Miss Mary Cassatt, sister of President Cassatt of the Pennsylvania Railroad, returned from Europe yesterday. She has been studying painting in France and owns the smallest Pekinese dog in the world." Cas.art collection of her New York friends. the H. 0. Havemeyers, has been well-documented Lindsay acknowledges, however, that the extent and nature of Cassatt's influence on Philadelphia collectors may not be clearly established. Many of the city's most prominent collectors would easily have encountered modern French art on their own, especially following the much-publicized 1886 New York exhibition of Impressionist art. Cassatt is known to have given two paintings by Courbet to the Philadelphia Academy in 1912 and, on various occasions, she advised Philadelphians buying art in Paris. Otherwise, Cassatt's direct impact on Philadelphia collections, apart from those of family members, cannot be traced, although Lindsay insists, somewhat mystifyingly, that it was essential. Cassatt's enduring legacy to Philadelphia, both as an arti'it and as an advisor, appears to have been
achieved largely through her own family. Beginning around 1880 or 1881, she began to play an active role in influencing the art purchases of her brother, Alexander Cassatt, President of the Pennsylvania Railroad Although Alexander appears to have shown little interest in art prior to this time, Cassatt acquired three lmpre~ionist paintings for him in Paris: a Pissarro, a Monet, and a Degas. Much of her correspondence to Alexander emphasizes the financial benefits likely to accrue as a result of these transactions. Indeed, their mother expre~d concern that Alexander would be shocked by such "eccentric" art. From these somewhat inauspicious beginnings, Alexander eventually built, with his sister's guidance in Paris, a respectable Impre~ionist collection which, Lindsay argues, may have been the first Impre~ionist collection in Philadelphia. Cassatt's gift~ and bequests of her own art to family members and friends finallv acounted for the significant number of her works which began to enter Philadelphia collection~ following her death in 1926. Locally. critical reaction to Cas.~att's work also hegan to improve about this same time. Forbes Watson. in f:Jvorahly reviewing the generally popular memorial exhibition of Cassatt's works held in 1927 at the Pennsylvania Museum, was the first of many critics to imply, inaccurately aCL'Ording to the author, that Cas.~tt's native city had neglected her work following hl!r early move to Paris.
Su1.anne Lindsay's catalogue essay is a valiant attempt to prove Watson wrong. Certainly, she provides evidence of Cas.,;att's continuing links with the city, both as an exhibitor who received her share of critical attention, and as an influential advisor, particularly to her family. following her move to Paris. But. the meagerne~ of the evidence itself appears to contradict, at times, Lindsay's over-inflated claim that Cassatt's influence in Philadelphia as an artist and advisor had long been "pervasive in exhibitions, the art market and the city's collections." Of course, neither the critics nor the collectors completely ignored Mary Ca.'-Satt, and thanks to the efforts of her dealer. the artist's works appeared fairly regularly in Philadelphia exhihitions after 1898. Nevertheles.'>, Cassatt's works, probably for a variety of reasons which hear further investigation. appear not to have had a major impact on the local art market, nor to have hecn featured prominently in Philadelphia collections, outside those of family members, during her lifetime. In spite of Lindsay's commendable efforts and very informative. lucidly-written catalogue. one is left with the lingering impression that Philadelphia was, indeed, slow to appreciate Ca~att as an artist. In the end, Mary Cassatt's continuing legacy to her hometown of Philadelphia appears to have been achieved largely as a result of her own effortc; on behalf of family and friends, whom she wi1lingly advised on all artistic matters and to whom she gave or bequeathed the bulk of her lifetime's impressive artistic output.
Women in the World: An International Atlas. By Joni Seager and Ann Olson (New York: Touchstone Books, Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1986)
By Dottie Painter, Colleges of the Arts and Sciences, The Ohio State University. Columbus. Ohi()
When I ordered Women in the World: An International Atlas by Joni Seager and Ann Olson~! thought of it as one of those beoks I ought to have to expand my view of women's lives, but I really didn't expect to he captivated by it. I was totally wrong; this hook is wonderful. The hook is divided into ten major sections: The Second Sex, Marriage, Motherhood, Work, Resources, Welfare. Authority, Body Politics, Change, and Statistical Politics. Each of these sections is divided into a number of separate but related parts; for example, the Work section has the following partc;: time hudgets, agriculture, labour force, out to work, migrant workers, job ghettos, earnings, and job protection. Each page contains multicolored maps and easy to read charts which clearly illustrate the status of women on various topics throughout the world. Often, related topics are grouped onto facing pages for an ea.c;y, more thorough evaluation. In addition to the beautiful maps and charts, the book contains clear text alongside each entry, and a
more in-depth discussion of each issue is numerically coded and presented in the last section of the hook. Many issues of women's lives can he examined through this work. Comparisons can he made between and among countries of differing political ideologies, social situations. and economic realities. Unlike many works which discu~ women's lives throughout the world relying on stereot)pcs and filtering everything through a western perspective, this book presents information so that aspects of women's lives can be viewed in their cultural contexts. Seen from women's perspective, surprising patterns emerge which redefine the meanings of "developed" and "undeveloped" countries for women. Overall, this is a high quality publication with attractive layout, easy to read graphics, and vibrant colors on heavy duty paper. Although one may want to quibble about a number here or there, it is an excellent resource both for those who think feminist geography sounds interesting and for those who do not share an interest in it.
Women Makin& Music: The Western Art Tradition, 1150 · 1950. Edited by Jane Bowers and Judith Tick (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1986)
By Martha Maas, Sclwol of Music, The Ohi.o State University, Columbus, Ohio
There have been IOfDC attempts to write about the social and cultural history of Western art music, but mOlt music historians don't pay much attention to matters beyond the strictly musical context of the music they study. As the editors of Women Making Music point out, historians have preferred to examine documents (generally scarce for women's music), and to discuss only the mOlt progressive works and genres (often of sorts required by professional positions not open to women} As a result, women's roles and works have been almOlt entirely excluded until very recently. This first collection of Historical Studies about the history of women in music expands the scope of music history by dealing with topics such as socialization institutional patterns in music education, and access t~ professional outlets. The fourteen authors whose studies appear here encourage us to consider how the status of women bas affected their opportunities to develop musical abilities, bow socialization and creative achievement are related, and bow social custom and beliefs have shaped women's history. Some of the names which appear in these studies are well known - FranCCIC8 Cacclni, Barbara Strozzi, Isabella Leonarda, Elisabeth Jacquet de la Ouerre, Ethel Smyth, Louise Farrenc, Augusta Holmes, Amy Beach, Clara Schumann, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Elisabeth Lutyens - but the strength of this collection of articles is that rather than dwelling much on such figures, it is !o .a large extent focussed on groups rather than on mdividuals, and many of the articles document important m~ents of historical change, filling in some ~ge ~lanks 10 our knowledge of the history of women 1n music. Only five of the writers offer studies of individual composers. Ellen Rosand, Nancy Reich, and Matilda Oaume are already known for their scholarly work on the composers they treat here: baroque cantata and solo aria composer Barbara Strom, nineteenth-century pianist and composer Clara Schumann, and twentietlHeatury American compoeer Ruth Crawford Seeger. These articles, and those by Judith Olson on nineteenth-century Oerman composer Luise Adolpba Le Beau and by Jane Bernstein on British opera composer Ethel Smyth, though they contain some discussion of the composers' works, and include a few musical examples, are mainly biographical studies that make clear for us how much these outstanding women were also shaped and limited by their education, socialization, and status. The description of the musical lives of medieval cloistered nuns by Ann Yardley that opens the volume
makes it clear that although the composers among them
faced various barriers to creativity, in some cases
convents developed fine musical ensembles that
!'faria encouraged individuals to overcome these obstacles.
And .
Coldwell's study of jouglereaes and
trobairitz, the secular music-makers of the Middle Ages,
explains bow women began to be excluded from such
pr~essions in the fourteenth century, at a time when
their legal freedom and economic power was also
declining.
Howard Brown, whose article "Women Singers and Women's Songs in Fifteenth-Century Italy" deals primarily with the difficulty in determining the social class of the relatively few women who are known to have performed music for courtly audiences, sets the stage for the studies of women musicians in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by Anthony Newcomb and Jane Bowers respectively. The daughters of sixteenth-century noblemen, merchants and bankers often bad private music teachers, and as adults performed within their private circles; a few became notable patrons. But men and women of the upper classes, Newcomb finds. did not become professional musicians, and women of the classes that produced mOlt professionals had no musical training unless they came of families of court officials or musicians.
Jane Bower's study, the longest in this collection,
sets out to "illustrate the nature of women's
achievements in musical composition and analyze the
changes that . . . permitted women to make
unprecedented progress as composers" and "to identify
the . . . divisions between the sexes that . . . excluded
women from benefitting from many of the advances in
music-making . . . and determined their slighter
achievements." At a time when the names of numbers
of Italian women composers begin to emerge, only a
few appear to have had long careers as composers, and
they write no operas, few large sacred pieces, and little
instrumental music.
Bowers attributes these
circumstances to the removal of women from public life,
the lack of professional positions open to women, and
to restrictions on musical undertakings in convents.
The account of slowly widening opportunities for women in music is continued in the articles by Julie Anne Sadie and Marcia Citron, who discuss the women musicians of France before the Revolution and women composers of lieder in Oermany between 177S and 1SS0. Sadie documents the gradual change, during the eighteenth century, in the social class of French women composers and in the size of the works they undertook; and Citron presents evidence of the high quality of the
lieder written by a number of German women - works that were mostly unpublished, and when published often branded by reviewers with the implied inferiority of "female qualitie~" Rounding out this series, two articles by Judith Tick and Carol Neuls-Bates deal with nineteenth- and twentieth-century phenomena respectively, Tick telling of the woman musician's difficult transition from parlour amateur to profemonal, and Neuls-Bates writing of the struggle of women orchestral musicians to find professional employment
Teachers of women's studies survey courses will find in the introduction to this volume a fine short survey of the history of women in music, free of the common myths and misstatements, that is reoommended to 3.1\yone making a general presentation; and music departments will find the book as a whole an appropriate te:ltboot for upper-division courses. One of the side benefits of the recent interest in women composers and their music is that studies which provide a sociocultural conten are becoming more common. The fine scholarship in this volume proves the validity of this approach to the history of music and musici~
Makin& a Difference: Feminist Literary Criticism. By Gayle Green and Coppelia Kahn (London: Methuen, 1985)
By Josephine Donovan, Portsmouth, New Hampshire This is a useful, synthetic book that charts the ground covered by feminist literary criticism in the past fifteen or so ye~ It attempts to introduce European feminist theory and in some cases to integrate it with that produced in the United States. It also suggests future courses of development As such, it is a coUection that aU feminist critics should read; indeed in its surveys of past accomplishments it should be of considerable use to all students of recent critical theory - feminist and otherwise. Most of the es.uys (e:xcepting those by Furman, Willis, and Munich) are, as indicated, overviews of various aspects of feminist criticism - socialist, psychoanalytical, Black, lesbian, French, and so on. For those, therefore, who are abreast of developments in these areas, the es.uys repeat familiar knowledge and provide little that is new. They are, however, fresh, up to date, and fairly comprehensive, and therein lies their merit Two of the es.uys - in particular those by Furman and Willis - provide original contributions to theory. The introduction by editors Oayle Greene and Coppelia Kahn, "Feminist Scholarship and the Social Construction of Women," attempts to place feminist criticism within the larger (predominantly European) conte:lt of cultural criticism offered by the deconstructionists, Foucault, Althusser, and others. Like many theorists in the European critical camp, they criticiu the aUeged Anglo-American assumption that "the ten ... [is] a transparent [medium) which reflect(s] a pre-existent objective reality, rather than [a] signifying system which inscribe(s] ideology and [is) actually constitutive of reality." This critique of the notion of lite~ature as mimesis bas become a familiar charge against American feminist criticism, particularly the "images-of-woman" brand (See, in addition to Furman's article, recent pieces by Shari Bcnstoclc and Claudia
Tate [tn I do not propose to answer this criticism here, e:xcept to suggest that the concept of mimesis has not been used so e:xclusively nor so simple-mindedly by American feminists as the Europeanists suggest In "Varieties of Feminist Criticism" Sydney Janet Kaplan presents a useful survey of developments in American feminist criticism since its inception in the early seventies that complements to some extent a similar overview of French feminist theory undertaken by Ann Rosalind Jones. Kaplan suggests that there is a tension in current American feminist criticism between those who prefer a pluralist, even nontheoretical approach to criticism as opposed to those who like Elaine Showalter are working toward a "theoretical framework" that will e:xplain and sustain "a female literary tradition." While I share some sympathy with those who resist abstruse mystifying theorization, seeing it as an elitist academic e:xercise, I nevertheless share Showalter's concern that an indigenous feminist theory be established - one that is rooted in the cultural practices of women and in women's own literature and past theoretical pronouncements (for there have been some great feminist critics - Virginia Woolf, Charlotte Perkins Oilman, Madame de Stael, to name a few) and I would prefer to "privilege" their ideas over theories that were developed primarily to e:xplain cultural practices and artifacts of men - i.e., most e:listing critical theory (2). Nelly Furman's essay, 'The Politics of Language," is rooted in French post-structuralist theory but is neverthelea an original contribution to feminist critical theory. It is a dense and thought-provoking work that deserves serious attention. While she and I differ on a number of points, I found her ideas engaging and provocative. This essay represents the kind of speculative theorizing one would like to sec more of.
The article could have been entitled 'The Politics of Representation," for her central thesis is that feminist critics should be wary of seeing literature principally as mimesis because that construct may itself reinforce a patriarchal mindset. My understanding of why this is the case is that the mimetic approach asswnes a dichotomy between literature and reality. According to poststructuralists, all such binary oppositions privilege one or the other of the poles. Since in patriarchal contexts it is the masculine-feminine opposition that is primordial (with the masculine privileged), other dichotomies fall into comparable "master-slave" relationship (and here I extrapolate, borrowing from another discourse, the Hegelian- Marxist). Thus, when literature is seen as representative, it privileges the author as master and subordinates other elements of the literary proccs.1, in particular the reader. Whether western literature inherently privileges the author is, I believe, the real question. For what remains of that literature are works written by individual (primarily male) authors. The Western tradition is individualist. We have no collective anonymous masterpieces. But, certainly, a major feminist project has to be a redefinition of art to include collective and anonymous art such as quilts, one of women's major contributions to "masterpiece" art. Beyond this Furman urges that we reconceive literature as "text" or as "discourse, that is . . . an enunciation supposing a narrator and a listener and a reader." In this dialogical view (following Bakhtin), "the literary text is the space where writer and reader, narrator and narratee engage in dialogue. . . ." Such a valorization of the reader-critic equalii.es the author-critic relationship and nullifies the master-slave mode described above. The only problem here is that the critic's role can easily be overinflated in this view, so that he (he used deliberately) becomes the master subduing tpe text and other readers to his own critical categories. Such a process is the opposite of the receptive, nonauthoritarian common-reader approach advocated by Virginia Woolf, in particular, who urged that critics show, among other things, more sympathy and Jess system (3). However, Furman adduces another reason why privileging the author may work against feminism and that it may reinforce what poststructuralists call "the subject of enunciation," a cultural voice that predetermines or delineates the ideological choices available to the author. A mimetic view of literature ignores this aspect of literary production, the place where ideology becomes inscribed in literature. And since the question of the relationship between ideology and art is a crucial one for feminists to ponder, Furman's introduction of this theory is important In her essay ''Inscribing Femininity: French Theories of the Feminine," Ann Jones provides a critical look at such theories and the various critical problems they raise. As is by now well known, certain French critics have posed the existence of a preoedipal, apatriarchal, or maternal "language." Jones elaborates (and Furman also touches upon) Julia Kristeva's recent contribution to this intriguing endeavor, which is that
this maternal linguistic order (which she calls the Semiotic) exists within patriarchal language, known as the Symbolic, following Lacan. As Jones points out, the problem nevertheless remains of how to "decode" the "feminine semiotic" in ways that are comprehensible on the level of theory.
Judith Kegan Gardiner's essay "Mind Mother:
Psychoanalysis and Feminism" presents the varieties of
Freudian theory - with an emphasis on the American
feminist neo-Freudian theses developed by Dorothy
Dinnerstein and Nancy Chodorow - and shows how
these may relate to literature. Cora Kaplan ;n
''Pandora's Box: Subjectivity, Class and Sexuality in
Socialist Feminist Criticism" similarly (but less
specifically with respect to theoretical sources) attempts
to develop a socialist-feminist approach to literature. In
particular, this means critics should be aware of class
issues. Her analysis of the bourgeois novel where the
heroine's class status is her fate is useful, although past
critics have hardly ignored class as a factor in the
eighteenth- and nineteenth-century novel This essay
was marred somewhat by a tendency toward mystifying
jargon, though her project
to integrate
psychoanalytical theories of femininity and subjectivity
with socialist-Marxist theories that focus on material
conditions - is a noble one.
Bonnie Zimmerman's ''What Has Never Been: An Overview of Lesbian Feminist Criticism," the only reprint in the collection, is what its title implies. It could, however, have been strengthened by reference to the important work done on nineteenth-century women by American historians Carroll Smith- Rosenberg, Nancy Sahli, Judith Schwarz, Martha Viclnus, and others. It is nearly impossible to interpret nineteenth-century literary lesbianism without an understanding of the historical context of the women's culture in which it developed (my own work on Sarah Orne Jewett and Mary E. Wilkins Freeman owes much to these historians).
While more of an example of critical practice than of theory, Susan Willis's eaay on ''Black Women Writers: Taking a Critical Perspective" is an intriguing (and I believe successful) attempt to use a Marxist perspective to interpret several contemporary Black women writers. Willis stresses the effect of the transformations of capitalism - from the "labour control" seen in slavery to commodity capitalism - on the Black community and looks to ways in which Black women writers have reacted to these economic changes. In particular, she notes a utopian vision in writers like Toni Morrison and Alice Walker of a kind of precapitalist home-work site where work is primarily production for use (I extrapolate here) and not for exchange, the character ascribed to household labor in classic Marxist thought This piece fits in nicely with Angela Davis's earlier (1971) Marxist analysis of the Black woman's economic role in slavery (4).
Finally, Adrienne Munich comments that feminists who have taken a new look at the male masterpiece canon suggest that some canonical works are more complex in their handling of gender than hitherto allowed. Her analysis of Don Quixote in this regard is
persuasive (of course, Don Quixote is one of the most sclf-0cconstructivc works ever written, so it is not surprising that gender roles arc among the givens that arc challenged in this great work). Overall, since the primary challenge issued by this book is that American feminists should become more aware of European post- structuralist theory, I must offer a couple of caveats of my own about this challenge. First, I endorse Showaltcr's warning against developing "an obscwon with correcting, modifying, supplementing, revising, humanizing or even attacking male critical theory" lest it keep us "dependent on it," thus retarding "our progress toward solving our own theoretical problems." I also feel that American feminists in literary criticism should learn more about feminist political theory, especially that developed by cultural feminists which builds upon difference. There are some wondedul essays in early American classics such as Notes from the Second Ycar (1970), Notes from the Third Year (1971), and The Lesbian Reader (197.5) that are now being ignored in favor of European male theory, which admittedly seems more sophisticated, but is not for that any more revolutionary. Indeed, few if any of such major American feminist theorists as Nancy Hartsock, Sandra Harding, Evelyn Fox Keller, Charlotte Bunch, Audre Lordc, Heidi Hartmann, Rosemary Radford Ruether, Letty Russell, Katherine MacKinnon, Paula Gunn Allen, Carolyn Merchant, Mary O'Brien, Kathryn Rabuzzi, and Aziz.ah al-Hibri, to name but a few, arc even mentioned in this collection. On the other hand, while at worst the European theorists influenced by Lacan and Derrida engage in inaccessible, elitist, obscurantist intellectual games, at best (seen in much of the work represented here) they
challenge our assumptions about the very nature of literature itself and raise the question (as Furman does) whether all literature as we know it is a gendered form. In the end, however, we must acknowledge that the best feminist criticism is that motivated, as Sydney Kaplan points out, by a genuine love for women's art, and is energized by what our great forcmother Charlotte Perkins Oilman called "an intense and endless love for women." ENDNOTES 1 Shari Bcnstock, "From the Editor's Perspective," and Claudia Tate, "On Black Literary Women and the Evolution of Critical Discourse," Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature .51 (Spring 1986): .5-12 and 111-23, respectively. 2 See Josephine Donovan, 'Toward a Women's Poetics," Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature 3.1/2 (Spring/ Fall 1984~ 99-110; forthcoming reprint in Feminist Issues in Literary Scholarship (Bloomington: Indiana University Press). 3. Barbara Currier Bell and Carol Ohmann's ''Virginia Woolrs Criticism: A Polemical Preface" remains a good introduction to this aspect of Woolrs critical theory; it appears in Feminist Literary Criticism: Explorations in Theory, ed. Josephine Donovan (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 197.5), pp. 48-(i(). 4. Angela Davis, "Reflections on the Black Woman's Role in the Community of Slaves," Black Scholar 3.4 (December 1971).
The Lady and the Vir&in: Image, Attitude, and Experience in Twelfth-Century France. By Penny Schine Gold (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985)
By Jean Blacker, Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literature, Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio
Gold's much-needed study appears to have been in part a reaction to two opposing views of the correspondence between images of women and women's lives in twelfth-century France: the traditional view maintains that the profusion of literary images of ladies on pedestals and of artistic images of the Virgin reflected a reverence and high esteem enjoyed by real women of the period, whereas the more modem view alleges that the same images reflected a situation in which women were actually experiencing a decline in power and privilege while their imaginary counterparts were being idealized and idoli:zcd. Gold questions not only the content of these views, but also the temptation
to read images too literally. Oold cautions against the relentless interpretation of symbols as reliable indicators of "reality." She proposes, as other historians and critics have - though not for this particular topic - that the mental, psychological "realities" behind fictional and artistic representations are as valid as quantifiable "facts." In addition, she affirms that the indicators which we are able to glean from twelfth-century sources do not support a monolithic picture. According to Gold, the search for a clearly- defined, consistent "status" of women has prevented scholars from appreciating the complexity of women's lives and how they were perceived Although she is not uniformly
succemul in juggling the competing demands of traditional historiography, literary criticism, and mentalites scholarship, Oold has made a very valuable contribution to our understanding of men's perceptions of women's lives in this period. Chapter One is an comparative analysis of images of women in chansons de geste and in romance. Gold accepts the traditional view that these two genres ~ntially promote two different ethics -- the ethic of the warrior class and the ethic of the courtly, noble, ruling elite. But she goes beyond this formula to speculate, as others have (but this notion bears repeating) that these two genres overlapped chronologically and thus reveal a multiplicity of attitudes toward family, women, identity, and kingship, rather than a strictly linear forward progreaion, an evolution supposedly from militant, genealogical preoccupations to a quest for self-definition. While remaining within the bounds of epic explication de texte, analyzing standard texts which have received treatment from other perspectives by literary critics (William Calin, among others), Gold makes an original contribution by showing that, in the Old French epic where the characters are given a group identity of family and polity by their situation and by their close relationship - problematic at times, but always central - with their king or lord, the female characters are often cast as helpmates who work toward the same goals as the men, as Guiburc works for the French cause by often saving the day for her husband, Willame (Chanson de Willame). The situation for women is different in romance: in stories where the male hero must forge his own identity through his own efforts, women are most often portrayed as attendants to the central drama, rather than as participants in it. In romance, although women are shown as both the source of the problem and its solution, it is always the hero's reaction tq them which is of primary importance. As exemplified by the drama between the conflicted husband, Erec, and the active/passive wife, Enide, in Chretien de Troie's Eric et Enide - active when she points out that her husband has spent too much time honeymooning and too little time in "manly" pursuits and passive throughout much of the ensuing tale - the courtly hero is forced to balance his conflicting allegiances to a martial life with men and a marital life at home. Ironically enough, the martial/marital conflict faced by the hero puts the heroine on the sidelines as the most enthralling crises of life in romance often become spectator sports for the women involved; the conflict of the demands of the public and private spheres remains a man's conflict. (A notable exception here is Guinevere's tragic dilemma as seen in the thirteenth-century prose romance La Mort le Roi Artu in which the queen's conflict between her duty to her king and society and her private love for both the king and Lancelot are as vital to the downfall of the kingdom as are the men's conflicts.) Gold concludes that the attitude which unites the two genres is one in w~ich women's importance rests in their relationships With men, whether as active helpmate or as primarily pawve objects. In keeping with her objectives, Gold
resists the easy generalization that women were playing the identical roles as their literary counterparts. Chapter Two on the iconography of the Virgin Mary str~s the multiplicity of images of the Virgin in Romanesque and Gothic art. Oold underscores the need to look past the quantity of the images to their content She states, however, that Romanesque images betray few attitudes toward women; this ~ament is surprising since she describes in detail the stiffnea of the Madonna figures and the centrality of Jesus in many of the representations, qualities which might suggest restraint and passivity - as ideals, not realities - proposed for the Madonna figure. In contrast, Gold finds the Oothic replete with interpretable qualities, humility, submmion, and tendemea being the most prevalent She cites as one exception to these norms the short-lived Triumph of the Virgin image that emphasized equality and power, portraying the Virgin on the same visual level and of the same size as the Christ figure. Here, too, Oold chooses to interpret the qualities as representative of coexistent ideals, strewng the complexity and variety of the idealizations rather than postulating links between the ideal and the real In the following chapter on women's monastic experience, Oold attempts to show how the patterns of idealization seen in representations of ladies in literature and the Virgin in sculpture resembled patterns of treatment received by actual women in monastic communities. This chapter is lea succesdul than the first two, due partly to the shift in critical focus but primarily to the choice of evidence. In the chapters on fiction and art, Oold is critical of a quid pro quo approach of assigning a rigid, univocal meaning to each symbol or trend, yet she does something very similar when she tries to extrapolate to generalized "reality" from narrow specifics, especially in the hopes of seeing the same patterns of "behaviors" which she saw in fiction and sculpture. But the major weakneu of this chapter is not the slip in perspective - which might be easily excused by many eager for a glimpse into the "real" monastic lives of women - but rather the choice of Fontevrault as focal point Gold selected Fontevrault as her main point of reference precisely because she intended to use its successes as a women's monastic institution to explain the failure of other houses and movements to answer women's needs for a monastic vocation, an aim sound in itself but incompletely executed. While providing a fairly thorough analysis of female control at Fontevrault, she does not adequately point up the shortcomings of the other options available to women. She is convincing in her arguments that Fontevrault, administered almost exclusively by women, bad fully institutionalized the early stages of cooperation and service, a cooperation exhibited between monks and nuns soon after the founding of many institutions but which more often gradually gave way to male domination and female exclusion and subordination. She also demonstrates that, in general, women as an anonymous collective were feared as a source of sexual temptation and that they also represented a burden on monastic time; these two attitudes forced women into the background or into
-
-
26
separate institutions under the supervmon of male abbots. But the counter-argument that as specific individuals encountered as peers, women were accorded affection and respect as well as scorn and neglect is not adequately supported; one sees the positive aspects of Fontcvrault and the negative outside Fontevrault, but the positive outside Fontcvrault is regrettably missing. It should be noted in passing, though, that the footnotes to this chapter contain an extensive bibliography for further research on this topic. Patterns of property transfer, the subject of Chapter Four, bear out Oold's conclusion for her study as a whole: women's roles were defined in relation to men. This created a situation whereby women were involved in the system, but only peripherally. It was only as widows that women exercized any more than nominal control over property and thus, only in that context were they able to wield power over their own destinies and the lives of those dependent on them.
Oold's final determination that the ambivalence of inclusion/exclusion was characteristic of images of women and of women's experience in the religious and secular spheres can be embraced with only minor reservations, reservations which point back to her own assumptions and the very premise upon which this important study is based: that "reality" and images are images, and that while at times images may contain mimetic value, they are often more relevant for what they reveal about a society's self-image than for what they might imply about any concrete, quantifiable factors drawn from "daily life." Despite the book's occasional inconsistencies and Oold's tendency to be overly equivocal in her effort to avoid over-simplifying extremely ambiguous (and ambivalent) findings, The Lady and the Virgin should be required reading for all interested in the social institutions of the twelfth-century, in the men and women who populated them and whose visions of the world gave them meaning.
Lesbian Etiquette. By Gail Sausser (Trumansburg, NY: The Crossing Press, 1986)
By Suzanne Hyers, Center for Women's Studies, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
I have a theory about life, a pretty simple theory. Basically, I see us all as having jumped out of an airplane and heading toward earth. The difference is, some of us use parachutes and some of us don't. That's it. Humor is a parachute. And it feels good to read Sausser's book, laugh about things we couldn't always laugh about, and drift a bit more gently (and irreverently) toward our destinations. Lesbian Etiquette, for those who might be confused about the title, has little to do with Miss Manners. It does have to do with (as the book jacket tells us) "situations we've been in a million times." The first funny thing in the book occurs even before the copyright date. It's the disclaimer: 'This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance found in it to actual persons or events is purely coincidental." Sure. Just like The Oreek Tycoon, a movie about a Oreek shipping magnate who marries the widow of an American President The table of contents gives a pretty good idea of what's included in the brief chapters (each only a few pages long) such as 'The Crush," "Lesbian Potlucks through History," ''De-Dyking the Apartment," and "Seduction in Perspective." There are about two dozen of these and the book jacket is right most of us can relate to something in every one. That feels good. It feels good to have come from the day when you felt like "the only one" to the day when you realize you're reading a book -- a whole book published right here in America and in upstate New York at that -- which not only points at but pokes fun at stuff you've never told anyone about
The fact is, though, I wish it were funnier. Sausser's language and situations tend to get strained and predictable. Maybe that's a function of the book representing so accurately that which is, unfortuately at times, predictable in life. But I still believe it could have carried more punch. Sausser can be funny when she is subtle with exaggeration, as in "Classified Ads Can Lead to the Real Thing": At your first meeting it's wise to avoid the topic of how insanely jealous and violent your ex-lover still is, or how deeply depressed and lonely you are, or how you always carry a gun. . . . Do not offer personality tests or ask them to join the Hunger Project. These are only suggestions. She's also funny when she points to truths we would rather attribute to others, as in ''Ways to Dump Your Lover": The compromise stage is bad but, beyond doubt, the stage before I really decide it's over is the truly painful one. Tired of diving in and out of rejection, I have been known to scream, '1 don't care if you want to be with me or not, just decide." Sausser, though, takes the bite out of a line like that by following it with, "Of course, I was giving her all the power." Well, we knew that And the effect is lessened by a superfluous statement Oive me a cigarette, but please don't ask how it was.
There's also a question of politics here. SaUIICr spends a lot of time sexualizing the lesbian experience, which can reinforce, to mainstream audiences particularly, something that is only one upect of our lives. But I think ru leave that one alone. Sex sells. Even the Fundamentalists are learnlng that Lesbian Etiquette is a good book; it's just not a great book. But it's summer (almost), and Lesbian
Etiquette is a great book for the beach. There are lots of good lines and the drawings by Alice Mublback are ones you will want to tape to your refrigerator or send to friends anonymously (don't do both~ There's a hungry and welcome audience for humorous eaays about the lesbian experience, and I hope Oail Sausser keeps writing. I just hope she reads some works by Dorothy Parker in the meantime.
Russian and Polish Women's Fiction. Translated and Edited by Helena Goscilo (Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 1985)
By Lawa Weeks, Providence, Rhode Island
There arc compelling reasons why the appearance of a collection of prose by Russian and Polish women writers is a significant event. As Helena Ooscilo says in her preface, Polish women writers did not "come into their own" until the end of the nineteenth century. In Russia in the mid- and late nineteenth century the preeminent novelists were likewise men: Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Turgenev. lo the twentieth century, as Katerina Clark bas shown in The Soviet Novel: History as Ritual, the officially sanctioned socialist realist novel is essentially a male initiation ritual, making it at best an imperfect vehicle for women writers. This leaves the disturbing imprcaion that "real women don't write prose." Hence the usefulness of Ooscilo's book. It demonstrates that women writers have worked in prose and it also introduces writers, such as Varlamova, Oojawiczydska, and Nakowska, who enjoy great popularity in their homelands but are less well known in the West Eleven writers from the nineteenth and twt.utieth centuries are represented, of whom seven are Polish and four Russian. Each selection is preceded by a brief biographical sketch. This, together with the historical overview of the "woman question" and the endnotes at the end of each section, provides the cultural and historical setting for each of the authors. The translations are good and read smoothly, except for the renderings of speech defects, regional dialects, and playful ''baby-talk," which are virtually impossible to reproduce. The themes of the short stories cover a fair range of human experience: strong passions, emotional and sexual manipulation of one's spouse, the wicked injustices of society, the nature of art, the plight of the genteel, orphaned, or unmarried lady at the turn of the century who is forced to find work. With the exception of the two stories depicting World War II, however, all share the common thread of women as victims and victimi7.ers caught in the web of familial and societal relationships. lo the section on Russian women's prose, one encounters some of the inevitable shortcomings of socialist realism (in Panova's Evdokia the luring of the
heroine into adultury by the reappearance of an old flame and her subsequent rejection of him receives all of two paragraphs), but there are compensations in the writing of Varlamova, who demonstrates the ability to control the full range of human intimacy. Her A Ladle for Pure Water, in which a typical love triangle resolves into a rather Dostoevskian menage-a-trois, revolves around a young man, a deserter from a logging camp (unthinkable in Soviet society) who bad been found, nursed back to health, wedded, and bedded by a powerful, older peasant woman. The crisis comes when be finds love with a gentle, mysterious woman of bis own age, forcing a confrontation between husband and wife: . . . Nikolay sat up with a jerk on bis separate bed, clasped bis bony knees, pressed bis forehead against them. "Lena," be wanted to sob out, 'Thank you little berry, for everything!" But be couldn't, and be remained silent, sitting and rocking. And she, after waiting for a reply in vain fumblingly found bis bead in the dark and buried her greedy, tender fingers in bis curly hair. He buried bis face in her knees and fro1.e. '1.eoa, let me go," be said "Let me go without any nastinea, please, let me go." And she played with bis hair, completely motionlea, deathly pale, and only her fingers moved quietly, combing the back of bis bead, as she listened to him repeating. '1et me go, let me go_" Suddenly, pushing bis bead away, she dragged her bare feet to her high bed, clambered up on it, and screeched from the depths and the warmth of the featherbed: "Turbot slime! Your words stink of rot, you vile man!" Among the selections by Polish women writers, the most moving is Sofia Nakowlka.'1 account of the horrors of World War II concentration camps - Pawiak, Bunzig, Ravensbruck. Using the well-worn device of first-person narration by a survivor, she tells a story that stuns, no matter bow often one bears it
The cold was terrible to endure, all the weaker women died, either on the way to the factory, or at the machines inside it They stacked the corpses up there in the bunkers. And those were the same bunkers where they'd lock us up for the slightest offense, without giving us anything to eat or allowing us to use anything for cover. You lay there all night on the bare ground They wouldn't come until the morning to summon you for roll call, and after roll call, it was back again to the bunker without any food We weren't allowed to slip them any food; they'd stand apart from the rest during roll call so that no one would share her bread with them. The SS women kept a strict watch . . . She hesitated and lapsed into. thought She had difficulty in getting something out ''Yet they did get something to eat," she said more quietly, "One of them moved her mouth once. And another had blood on her fingernails. The punishment for it was awful, but at night they ate the flesh off the corpses!'' The book's chief weakness is in the editor's choice of authors. Ooscilo's first love is obviously Polish
literature, and the Polish sections outnumber the Russian two-to-one, as well as being artistically stronger. As far as matters of personal preference go, this is not a problem, except that it gives a very poor, unbalanced iLatin American and African Tales of Patriarchal Violence
The Little School: Tales of Disappearance and Survival in Argentina. By Alicia Partnoy. (Pittsburg: Cleis Press, 1986} Black Sisters, Speak Out: Feminism and Oppression in Black Africa. By Awa Thiam. (1978; rpt. London: Pluto Press, 1986}
By Tania RamaJ,ho, Center for Women's Studies, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Women's Studies carries the seeds of revolutionary power as it constructs images of the past and the present in view of a transformed future for humankind Its feminist perspectives account for the fertility of this p r ~ They bring into focus what women observe, judge, and state in our own terms about experience. With this understanding of the importance of women's voices, we welcome ·Alicia Partnoy's and Awa Thiam's portrayals of patriarchal violence from Latin America and Africa. They enrich "ur knowledge, and incite us to resistance. Alicia Partnoy, an Argentinian Jew and political activist, portrays the experience of the "disappeared" The widespread phenomenon of "disappearance" was, and in some cases still is, prevalent in Argentina and other Latin American countries such as Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, and El Salvador. A terrorist tactic used by the State to combat "communists," "disappearance" refers to "the kidnapping of an individual followed by torture and secret detention, which meant that the military denied the fact that the prisoner was in their hands." Often the military murder the "disappeared," dispose of the body, and destroy records of incriminating events.
The impact of Partnoy's experience can be felt as we put ourselves in her shoes. Imagine yourself an enthusiastic and idealistic college student You are sensitive to the life conditions of your people, which lack dignity and justice. The official university curriculum is unresponsive to the needs of society. Classes are guarded by soldiers with machine guns. You organiu for change, and become a threat to "national" security. At twenty-one, you have a daughter and a husband you love. One day, at home, they come for you: On January 12, 1977, at noon, I was detained by uniformed Army personnel at my home, Canada Street 240, Apt 2, Bahia Blanca; minutes later the same military personnel detained my husband at his place of work. I was taken to the headquarters of the 5th Army Corps and from there to a concentration camp, which the military ironically named the Little School (La Escuelita~ We bad no knowledge of the fate of Ruth, our daughter. From that moment on, for the next five months, my husband and I became two more names on the endless list of disappeared people.
In the introduction to The Little School, Alicia Partnoy, the witness, briefly describes the events in Argentina and in her life under military dictatorship. In the short twenty chapters that follow, the poet and storyteller explores the realities of political imprisonment Each chapter bas a unique story which introduces the reader to the experiences and feelings of the prisoner who does not know if she, or any of the others, will live to see another day. An illustration depicting a blindfolded woman precedes the chapter. Raquel Partnoy, Alicia's sister, is the author of this and other art work in the book. In 'The One-Flower Slippers" we learn that Alicia Partnoy was kidnapped barefoot At home wearing her husband's flip-flops, she lost them as she ran towards the backyard when they came. At the concentration camp, her captor remarked: '1t doesn't matter, she won't have to walk much." She was given a pair of slippers, one of which had a plastic daisy on it. She compares the slippers to the prisoners' fortune: 'The other slipper, without flower, was more like them. But that one- flowered slipper amid the dirt and fear, the screams and the torture, that flower so plastic, so unbelievable, so ridiculous, was like a stage prop, almost obscene, absurd, a joke." Every object acquires J particular meaning to the captive who is owned, owns nothing, and must do as told For her birthday Partnoy was promised the soda pop she craved; she was allowed to sit down on her bed instead Once she bad bated the shape of her nose. Now, that same nose allowed her to see under the blindfold. With her comrades in prison, there are forms of silent communication which bind them in community. We learn of Partnoy's love for Zulma ''Vasca" Izurieta, who is assassinated, her Jove for Maria Elena, Benja, and Graciela, among others. In "Nativity," Graciela gives birth in captivity: "A prisoner child has been born. While the killer's hands w~lcome him into the world, the shadow of life leaves the scene, half a winner, half a loser: on her shoulders she wears a poncho of injustice." 'The Little School" concentration camp housed high school and college students who were politically active, in the best traditions of Latin American student movements and of military repression. Partnoy's account reminds us that the atrocities of fascism have not been buried in the ashes of World War II but arc present in the Americas today: for her it meant "disappearance" in a concentration camp where torture was routine, followed by two and a half years of detention. She never really understood why she and her husband were not kiUed, for "people who participated less in politics did not survive. We were hostages and, as such, our lives were disposed of according to the needs of our captors." In 1979, through pressures originated in Jimmy Carter's human rights policies, this family was granted refugee status and immigrated to the U.S. The same cannot be said about the fate of the majority of the 30,000 Argentinians "desaparecidos." Presently, Alicia Partnoy lives in Washington D.C. with her daughter,
where she continues to write and speak out on human rights violations.
Transporting us to the African continent, Awa Thiam reports the voices of her Black sisters. In Black Sisters, Speak Out Feminism and Oppression in Black Africa, the reader finds a rich source of information on the many facets of the experience of African women from French-speaking Ivory Coast, Guinea, Mali, and Senegal, and English-speaking Ghana and Nigeria Thiam's family and friends in these countries provided materials and help for the book. First published in Paris in 1978, only eight years later we have the English translation of this important feminist work.
Black Sisters, Speak Out is divided in three parts, 'The Voices of Black Women," 'The Trials and Tribulations of the Black African Woman," and "Feminism and Revolution"; a conclusive section "What Suggestions Should We Make to Our Black Sisters?" is foJlowed by a selected bibliography of mostly French books on women and feminism.
In 'The Voices of Black Women" Tbiam asks fundamental questions and makes statements concerning the situation of women in Africa. She begins, powerfully:
"Black women have been silent for too long. Are they now beginning to find their voices? Arc they claiming the right to speak for themselves? Is it not high time that they discovered their own voices, that - even if they arc unused to speaking for themselves - they now take the floor, it only to say that they exist, that they are human beings - something that is not always immediately obvious -- and that, as such, they have a right to liberty, respect and dignity?''
When women start speaking, men put feminism on trial, calling for the liberation of aJI Black people. Tbiam responds:
''We go beyond the racial problem, since we
are taking our stance, not only as Black women,
African women, but also as members of the
human race, without regard for any ethnic
considerations. As far as we are concerned, this
human race consists of social classes and two
categories of individuals: whose relationship to each
men other
anyd
women, that of
dominating to dominated"
The preceding statements exemplify the tone of Awa Thiam's inquiry and exposition. In this first part, she includes the life histories of nine women, and transcribes an animated collective interview with seven men and eight women from Guinea The diversity of social backgrounds and life experiences is as great as one can expect from the cultural diversity of the African continent
In Part 2, 'The Trials and Tribulations of the Black African Woman," Thiam uses personal accounts to
illustrate four issues: clitoridectomy and infibulation, institutionaliz.cd polygamy, se:rual initiation, and skin whitening. The reader has the opportunity to verify the complexity of such issues, and to understand the origins and practice of customs. Thiam stands against each oppressive practice. About genital mutilation and polygamous marriages, she writes: "Excision: If this is seen to be a mutilating practice, as we believe, then it must be abolished; it must be opposed, here and now, in the same way as forced sterilization such as is practiced in some countries of the Third World tmust be opposedl . . . (I]nfibulatioo appears as a mutilation with serious, even dangerous consequences, as much on the physical as on the psychological level. This practice can no longer be tolerated. . . . Polygamy is a plague which is difficult to combat in Muslim society, where it is deeply entrenched. Whether it is maintained or banished will depend on women themselves. If we have faith in the possibility of stamping out this oppressive practice, and if we are determined to continue to struggle against it, then victory will be ours. But it will take time." "Feminism and Revolution" provides a feminist theoretical structure of the revolutionary procea according to Awa Thiam's vision. In this structure, the situational and revolutionary roles of the Black woman are clearly identified: Where the European woman complains of being doubly oppreaed, the Black woman of Africa suffers a threefold oppression: by virtue of her sex, she is dominated by man in a patriarchal society; by virtue of her class she is at the mercy of capitalist exploitation; by virtue of her race she suffers from the appropriation of her country by colonial or neo-rolonial powers. Sexism, racism, class division; three plagues! In order to succeed, the Black African feminist
movement must set its sights on eradicating these three plagues from society. . Awa Thiam and Alicia Partnoy, fighters for their people, changers of the world They bring us knowledge and poetry to remind us why action is necessary. Partnoy quotes Luis Parades: Alas for our generation! It is this pasaion That drifts and shipwrecks us on dry land It is a whirlwind and, perhaps, a seed-bed Thiam pays tribute to Black womanhood: The Black woman is not simply ... Praised in song as lover, loving-flesh, praised in song as mother, "mother-protection" praised in song as colour, "colour-affirmation" the songs about the Black woman do not say who is the Black woman. These songs say little of her afflictions, pain or pleasure, heartbreaks, hopes, ... her LIFE The Black woman 'That thing lives' The Black woman, Woman, "that thing" lives woman 'That thing" lives that thing with battles setbacks victories Woman, Black woman, Productive force, Matrix, Fi 'That thing' is The Black woman is After the poem, Awa Thiam calls all of us: "Negro-African women, women of the Third World, women of the industrialized countries, the same fight!"
·······
Books Received The Combabee River Collective. The Combahee River Collective Statement Black Feminist Organizing In The Seventies and Eighties. New York: Kitchen Table: Women of Color Prea, 1986. Crapol, Edward P., ed Women And American Foreign Policy: Lobbyists, Critics, and Insiders. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, Inc., 1987. Davis, Fanny The Ottoman Lady: A Social History From 1718 to 1918. Westport, CT: Greenwood Prea, Inc., 1986. Duck, Steve, and Daniel Perlman, ed Understanding Personal Relationships: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, 1985. Farganis, Sondra The Social Reconstruction Of The Feminine Character. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1986. Farley, Jennie, ed Women Workers In Fifteen Countries: Essays in Honor of Alice Hanson Cook. ILR Prea, New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University, 1985. Kugler Israel From Ladies To Women: The Organi1.Cd Struggle For Woman's Rights In The Reconstruction Era. Westport, Ct Greenwood Prea, Inc., 1987. Lancaster, Jane 8., Jeanne Altmann, Alice S. Ros.tj, Lonnie R. Sherrod, ed. Parenting Across The Life Span: Biosocial Dimensions. New York: Aldine De Gruyter (Formerly Aldine Publishing Company), 1987. Lancaster, Jane 8., and Beatrix A. Hamburg. School-Age Pregnancy & Parenthood: Biosocial Dimensions. New York: Aldine De Gruyter, 1985. Leacock, Eleanor, Helen I. Safa, and Contributors. Women's Work. South Hadley, MA: Bergin & Garvey Publishers, Inc., 1986. Lerman, Hannah. A Mote in Freud's Eye: From Psychoanalysis to the Psychology of Women. New York: Springer Publishing Company, 1986. Lorde, Audre. I Am Your Sister: Black Women Organizing Across Sexualities. New York: Kitchen Table: Women of Color Prea, 1985. Lorde, Audre. Apartheid U.SA and Merle Woo. Our Common Enemy, Our Common Cause: Freedom Organizing in the Eighties. New York: Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, 1985/1986. Malcolmson, Patricia E. English Laundresses: A Social History, 1850-1930. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1987. Prelinger, Catherine M. Charity, Challenge, And Change: Religious Dimensions of the Mid-Nineteenth-Century Women's Movement in Germany. Westport, CT: Greenwood Prea, Inc., 1986. Rapping, Elayne. The Looking Glass World of Nonfiction TV. Boston, MA: South End Prea, 1987. Shamgar-Handelman, Lea Israeli War Widows: Beyond the Glory of Heroism. South Hadley, MA: Bergin & Garvey, Publishers, Inc., 1986. Shinn, Thelma J. Radiant Daughters: Fictional American Women. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, Inc., 1986. Stromberg, Ann H., Laurie Larwood, and Barbara A. Gutek, ed. Women and Work: An Annual Review, Volume 2.' Beverly Hills, CA: SAGE Publications, 1987. Trevathan, Wenda R. Human Birth: An Evolutionary Perspective. Hawthorne, NY: Aldine De Gruyter, 1987. Publication Information The Women's Studies Review is a bimonthly publication of the Center for Women's Studies at The Ohio State University. We solicit reviews of works by, for, or about women in any media Reviews will be published which focus on women's experiences and gender, or which advance feminist theory and consciousness. Manuscripts should be no more than 10 double-spaced, typewritten pages in length and should be sent to The Editor. Subscriptions are $3.00 per year for students, _$6.00 for others, payable to The Center for Women's Studies. Address all correspondence to The Center for Women's Studies, W7 Dulles Hall, 230 West 17th Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43210. The Women's Studies Review Staff Olynis Carr, Co-Editor Susan Farquhar, Subscriptions Mary Sullivan, Mechanicals Willa Young, Co-Editor Olynis Carr, and Willa Young, Mechanicals
The Ohio State University CenterForWomen 'sStudies 207 Dulles Hall 230 West 17th Columbus, Ohio 43210
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