By Jane Marcus
"Anger isn't anathema in art," Jane Marcus writes, "it is a major resource of artistic power. Rage and savage indignation sear the hearts of woman poets and feminine critics." the diversity and gear of the essays Jane Marcus accrued less than the rubric paintings and Anger clarify how penetrating a suite of literary and cultural insights feminist rage can produce.
The assortment is split into 4 components: "Reading perform I. The Feminist Critic Reads males: Wilde, Meredith, Ibsen"; "Reading perform II. The Socialist Critic Reads Virginia Woolf'; "Writing perform. The Lupine Critic Writes a (Biased) background of Virginia Woolf Scholarship"; and "A Theoretical Perspective." The fourth part is composed solely of Marcus' influential, broadly pointed out essay "Still perform, A/Wrested Alphabet: towards a Feminist Aesthetic," an inspiring and witty demand "theory" to return down off its male-defined top and trade its competitive posturing for an openness to the Woolfian "reader's wish to be enraptured through the writer":
Despite [theory's] delivery within the left-wing beds of Europe, it has grown in perform to be an boastful apolitical American adolescent with an excessive amount of muscle and a tremendous mouth. As theorists constrict the area of readers and writers to ever-tinier elites, the socialist feminist critic needs to achieve out to extend and elasticize that international to incorporate the illiterate, the watchers of tv, the readers of romances, the individuals in oral cultures—in brief, our students.
Marcus' crafty socialist feminist anger is such a lot electrifying within the part on "Writing Practice" the place, within the recognized essays "Tintinnabulations," "Storming the Toolshed," and "Quentin's Bogey," she assaults, regularly with the humor glaring in her titles, the culturally conservative, patronizing British institution for rewriting Woolf as a languishing neurotic classification snob instead of permitting her her right stature because the nice socialist, feminist, pacifist literary foremother that Marcus and others have proven her to be.
We had simply been given a strong imaginative and prescient of that socialist, feminist, pacifist Woolf within the 3 essays in "Reading perform II." In "Thinking again via Our Mothers," Marcus elaborates Woolf s articulation of the collective subconscious traditionally particular to the feminine artist. In "No extra Horses: Virginia Woolf on paintings and Propaganda," Marcus argues that Woolf was once a visionary, instead of in the community pragmatic, polemicist, who labored (in Woolf's personal word from 3 Guineas) in "freedom from unreal loyalties." The essay that offers Marcus her name for this quantity, "Art and Anger: Elizabeth Robins and Virginia Woolf," argues, correctly, for the efficacy, quantity, and suppression of feminist rage in writing that has "great violence beneath [its] polished surface." The sympathetic essays on feminist impulses in Wilde, Meredith, and Ibsen in "Reading perform I" are of profound curiosity to feminist scholars of the final flip of the century, a ancient second while gender illustration was once so powerfully in flux. those little summaries, even supposing no longer, i am hoping, erroneous, supply not one of the experience of the scope of argument, erudition, inquiry, and reference in those relocating, permitting essays.
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Extra resources for Art and Anger: Reading Like a Woman
The Baptist, as a principled autonomous creative artist, evoked the same fury and jealousy in her, the prisoner of a socially determined sex role, as Lovborg did in Hedda. In fact one may attribute her demand for his head, her fascination with his hair, and her symbolic rape of the prophet-artist as revenge. Rather than morbid necrophilia, it is a parallel to Hedda's wish to crown Lovborg's head with vine leaves as she drives him to a death which turns out to be a humiliating and debauched one and destroys his manuscript.
The wedding bells of Diana's marriage to Redworth signal not a happy ending but the beginning of physical sexual life and the dangers of childbirth. Meredith identified the middle class as the enemy of comedy and urged "cultivated women to recognize that the comic Muse is one of their best friends. They are blind to their interests in swelling the ranks of the sentimentalists.... "11 Caroline Norton's grandfather, Sheridan, had mocked the sentimental muse as well in the prologue to The Rivals, which gives some rather vivid examples of what happens when women are deprived of education.
Clio had other tricks up her sleeve, however, and the current revival of Diana of the Crossways is one of them. But its revival today is much easier to explain than its vogue in 1908-11. 5 They describe the relationship of the American novelists Sarah Edgarton and Mrs. " f 25 26 f READING PRACTICE I What they sought in literature was not so much craft as com panionship, and their most eloquent flights—expressed in the amorous language which was the characteristic style of feminine friendship in the nineteenth century—were addressed not to the muse but to each other.
Art and Anger: Reading Like a Woman by Jane Marcus