The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination, published in 1979, examines Victorian literature from a feminist perspective. Authors Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar draw their title from Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, in which Rochester’s mad wife Bertha stays locked in the attic.
In the work, Gilbert and Gubar examine the notion that women writers of the 19th Century were confined in their writing to make their female characters either embody the “angel” or the “monster.” This struggle stemmed from male writers’ tendencies to categorize female characters as either pure, angelic women, or rebellious, unkempt madwomen. In their argument, Gilbert and Gubar point to Virginia Woolf who says women writers must “kill the aesthetic ideal through which they themselves have been ‘killed’ into art”. While it may be easy to construe that feminist writers embody the “madwoman” or “monster,” Gilbert and Gubar stressed the importance of killing off both figures because neither the angel nor the monster are accurate representations of women or women writers. Instead, Gilbert and Gubar claimed that female writers should strive for definition beyond this dichotomy, whose options are limited by a patriarchal point of view.
i like people i like to say that i don’t actually care about history, or archiving, but the fact that this book was written in 1979 and we still act like it wasn’t written at all could definitely ruin my night. angels = monsters, go visit the office of a fashion magazine.
To those who delete their blog posts out of embarrassment for having revealed something abject or unspeakable: it is irresponsible to not write the truth. These acts of telling, of saying what nobody else will come out and say, will always be humiliating. Not just humiliating—it will make you unemployable! Yes, it burns a little when everyone around you is relieved by your acts of telling. Because you’re the girl who keeps it real. You’re emotional relief for respectable and repressed people.
Do the respectable people I sometimes email google me? (Impulse to unwrite myself.) No, they shall have to see me as I am.
It’s the only thing I’ve ever been good at—inserting myself where I don’t belong. I don’t belong in the consciousness of respectable people. Yet sometimes, there I am.
you’re not going to get the job.
"how can we rewrite the past so that it changes the present into a different future?" "the nobility of failures.” “how to think a politics that isn’t a critique.” “we speak, but luckily not all the time. we also act. speaking is acting, but boring acting.” “geography, not history. spatialization is more important than the movement of events…temporality, not chronology. how space, geography, terrain give rise to ideas, concepts." "the body is a set of conflicting forces. each part of the body is an agent that wants what it wants…forces that clash are always productive.” “the text as a literary machine which produces external relations between objects. a work of art is essentially productive, produces truths.” “bergson: waiting as the proof that the world is not subjectively given.” “pain is creative…pleasure is boring, conformist.” “spinoza is interested in what i can do, not what i am…a great thinker of affects and ethics. what relations do i enter into that make me stronger? which make me weaker? what a body enables itself to do, how it grows larger than itself/actions. 'i am what i do next.'" "a theory of desire that is not about lack." "the subaltern can speak, but can i listen properly." "foucault: the practice of truth and the care of the self.” “no origin, but linkages.” “art as an ally, not an object." "how space can be deranged so bodies can act in different ways." "interested in 2 things that can’t incorporate each other but follow each other in parallel." "aphorisms…his texts meander…rhizomatic… never amends, no corrections, doesn’t change mind…concept, not argument.” “theory should be experimental—it should take risks, engender effects, produce things, make new objects of investigation. theory should be judged by what it enables us to do, not what it enables us to know.” “phenomenology is wrong. there are forces that never appear to us that we have to address." "concepts are the condition of being otherwise. they are full of hope." "topology.” “the outside is what occasions us to think and speak…not inside.” “nietzsche: the subject is a surface that acts as if it has a depth…the inside is produced by doubling/folding of outside…” “i define myself through acts—i make, i do, so a subject. to act and make is to free self.” “to be open to the future we have to forget the past even as we embody it.” “f produced an entire body of work based on judicious remembering and forgetting.” “desire makes and connects. sometimes pleasure interrupts desire.” “pleasure/desire is bodily force that can mobilize us in particular contexts—surprise—forces that act, not subjects who ask." —thank you, liz grosz. (there is more on the way.)
i looked at this kind of by mistake but it is exactly what i need to think about right now.
“The pedagogy in Eve’s work is never to become a strong theorist who wants to wipe out the other’s knowledge or to adjudicate representations but to be a weak theorist who takes in the material she encounters and excavates as a teaching that induces further movement, the movement of making texture, writing, kibbitzing, the pincers movement of the person who has to learn and unlearn almost at the same time and does it in public. That was another thing she taught me–not to hoard my thought until I’d had it ten times. She told me to have my thought in real time, in public. It doesn’t become transformative of anything unless it circulates, she said, if you can bear it. She said in an interview once that she learned from Melanie Klein that humans cannot bear ambivalence, and although I disagree with that–because that’s the purpose of fantasy, to make ambivalence bearable–I knew what she meant, that it’s circulation that makes ambivalence bearable, because shared.”
hoarding is the patriarchy. liz grosz says so, too.
My sabbatical talk at RISD, 11-6-13. Sneak listen at “Artificial Menstruation,” my new feminist theory book-in-progress!!
"in the excessiveness of its throwing away, menstruation is the first act of true luxury that the female body produces."
"femininity marks the human desire to live beyond bare biological necessity."
"What are you doing that Tracey Emin didn’t already do?" — William Pope.L to Hanna M. Owens circa 2010
"like a crime scene." one of my biggest regrets is that i have no tag for all of the posts that talk about trials, jurors, crime scenes, justice, cops, stealing, etc., even though it is one of the major themes of this tumblr. is there anything more modern than charles saatchi owning tracey emin’s "my bed"? of course he does.
i took a class called “women of color” with angela davis my sophomore year of college. she taught the combahee river collective statement the first day. to chirlane mccray.
carolyn heilbrun, writing a woman’s life
matthew kirschenbaum, “coda: the forensic imagination,” mechanisms: new media and the forensic imagination