Creation of Feminist Consciousness : From the Middle Ages to Eighteen-Seventy

Overview

A pioneer in women's studies and long-term activist for women's issues, and a past president of the Organization of American Historians, Gerda Lerner is one of the founders and foremost scholars of Women's History. The Creation of Patriarchy, the first book in her two-volume magnum opus Women and History (1986) received wide review attention and much acclaim, winning the prestigious Joan Kelly Prize of the American Historical Association for the best work on Women's History that year. Ms hailed the book for ...

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Overview

A pioneer in women's studies and long-term activist for women's issues, and a past president of the Organization of American Historians, Gerda Lerner is one of the founders and foremost scholars of Women's History. The Creation of Patriarchy, the first book in her two-volume magnum opus Women and History (1986) received wide review attention and much acclaim, winning the prestigious Joan Kelly Prize of the American Historical Association for the best work on Women's History that year. Ms hailed the book for providing "a grand historical framework that was impossible even to imagine before the enlightenment about women's place in the world provided by her earlier work and that of other feminist scholars." New Directions for Women said it "may well be the most important work in feminist theory to appear in our generation."
Patriarchy traced the development of the ideas, symbols, and metaphors by which men institutionalized their domination of women. Now, in The Creation of Feminist Consciousness, the eagerly awaited concluding volume of Women and History, Lerner documents the twelve-hundred-year struggle of women to free their minds from patriarchal thought, to create Women's History, and to achieve a feminist consciousness. In a richly documented narrative filled with inspiring portraits of women, Lerner ranges from the Middle Ages to the late 19th century, tracing several important ways by which women strove for autonomy and equality. One of the most remarkable sections examines over twelve hundred years of feminist Bible criticism. Since objections to women's thinking, teaching, and speaking in public were based on biblical authority—most notably, passages from Genesis and the writings of St. Paul—women returned again and again to these texts, in an attempt to subvert patriarchal dominance and establish their equality with men. This survey of biblical criticism allows Lerner to illustrate her most important insight—the discontinuity of women's history. She describes how women's history was not passed on from generation to generation, forcing women in effect to reinvent the wheel over and over again. In a series of fascinating portraits of individual women who resisted patriarchal indoctrination, Lerner discusses women mystics such as Hildegard of Bingen, Julian of Norwich and later Protestant mystics, and brings to life the many women of great literary talent, from Christine de Pisan to Louise Labe to Emily Dickinson, who simply bypassed patriarchal thought and created alternate worlds for themselves.
Documenting the 1,200 year struggle of women to free their minds from patriarchal thought, create a women's history, and achieve a feminist consciousness, this brilliant work charts new ground for feminist theory, the history of ideas, and the development of women's place in our intellectual tradition.

A founding member of the National Organization of Women and a past president of the Organization of American Historians, Gerda Lerner is one of America's foremost scholars of women's history. The eagerly awaited concluding volume of Women in History documents the 1200-year struggle of women to free their minds of patriarchal thought and dominance.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195090604
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/28/1994
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 5.38 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Gerda Lerner is Robinson-Edwards Professor of History, Emerita, at the University of Wisconsin—Madison, and the author of 8 books in women's history.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 3
2 The Educational Disadvantaging of Women 21
3 Self-authorization 46
4 The Way of the Mystics-1 65
5 The Way of the Mystics-2 88
6 Authorization Through Motherhood 116
7 One Thousand Years of Feminist Bible Criticism 138
8 Authorization Through Creativity 167
9 The Right to Learn, the Right to Teach, the Right to Define 192
10 Female Clusters, Female Networks, Social Spaces 220
11 The Search for Women's History 247
12 Conclusion 274
Notes 284
Bibliography 331
Index 377
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2001

    A Must Read !

    A must read for anyone interested in the area of woman's studies. Lerner style and organization makes it easy to comprehend the complex history of women. Regardless of your field, this is a great book.

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