His Other Half

His Other Half

by Wendy Lesser
     
 
In this daring, wide-ranging study, Wendy Lesser counters the reigning belief that male artists inevitably misrepresent women. She builds her case compellingly through inquiry into many unexpected and delightfully germane subjects.

Overview

In this daring, wide-ranging study, Wendy Lesser counters the reigning belief that male artists inevitably misrepresent women. She builds her case compellingly through inquiry into many unexpected and delightfully germane subjects.

Editorial Reviews

Washington Post Book World

This is a wonderful book...lucid, cultivated, amiable...[His Other Half] is a model of the kind of flexible, interdisciplinary culture criticism that is desperately needed to bridge the gap between the general reader and the academic ghetto. Lesser, moving with graceful ease from literature and art to photography and cinema, is concerned with the image of woman as refracted through male imagination...Wendy Lesser has made an important contribution.
— Camille Paglia

New York Times Book Review

Wendy Lesser bases her group of essays on the idea that certain male artists are in search of their own lost or hidden female selves, and that the success of their search can be measured by the way such rescued selves are freed by the artist and given independent life in his works of art...Ms. Lesser is excellent on the force of Dickens's sentimentality...Her discussion of Degas's nudes is very moving...[and] her discussion of Alfred Hitchcock is really magnificent.
— Anne Hollander

Times Literary Supplement

[A] stimulating collection of essays...His Other Half is an arresting work of criticism. Lesser writes with volatile wit, an eager, almost breezy confidence and a palpable pleasure in reading and looking and analyzing—and in the suppleness of her own cleverness. She ranges from Henry James to Alfred Hitchcock, with chapters on Cecil Beaton's photographs, Degas's pastels, Barbara Stanwyck as The Lady Eve and Stella Dallas, and shows the kind of zapping glee throughout that recalls the wisecracking heroines of screwball comedies.
— Marina Warner

San Francisco Chronicle

In this wise and generous book, Lesser enables her readers to go further than they might have expected, both in looking at the artists she has written about and in searching internally for their points of resonance.
— Katharyn Eaton

Washington Post Book World - Camille Paglia
This is a wonderful book...lucid, cultivated, amiable...[His Other Half] is a model of the kind of flexible, interdisciplinary culture criticism that is desperately needed to bridge the gap between the general reader and the academic ghetto. Lesser, moving with graceful ease from literature and art to photography and cinema, is concerned with the image of woman as refracted through male imagination...Wendy Lesser has made an important contribution.
New York Times Book Review - Anne Hollander
Wendy Lesser bases her group of essays on the idea that certain male artists are in search of their own lost or hidden female selves, and that the success of their search can be measured by the way such rescued selves are freed by the artist and given independent life in his works of art...Ms. Lesser is excellent on the force of Dickens's sentimentality...Her discussion of Degas's nudes is very moving...[and] her discussion of Alfred Hitchcock is really magnificent.
Times Literary Supplement - Marina Warner
[A] stimulating collection of essays...His Other Half is an arresting work of criticism. Lesser writes with volatile wit, an eager, almost breezy confidence and a palpable pleasure in reading and looking and analyzing--and in the suppleness of her own cleverness. She ranges from Henry James to Alfred Hitchcock, with chapters on Cecil Beaton's photographs, Degas's pastels, Barbara Stanwyck as The Lady Eve and Stella Dallas, and shows the kind of zapping glee throughout that recalls the wisecracking heroines of screwball comedies.
San Francisco Chronicle - Katharyn Eaton
In this wise and generous book, Lesser enables her readers to go further than they might have expected, both in looking at the artists she has written about and in searching internally for their points of resonance.
Library Journal
This is an interesting assortment of revisionist feminist essays on literature, painting, photography, and film. From her Freudian stance, Lesser denies charges of gender-theory stereotyping--i.e., misogyny--in works by Dickens, Gissing, Degas, Lawrence, Henry James, Cecil Beaton, Jarrell, Hitchcock, Brodkey, and Sturges: ``There is no single meaning that women have for men, no single manner in which men use the feminine in their art.'' The chapters on Degas, Marilyn Monroe, and Barbara Stanwyck are more successful. Hard-line feminists understandably will dismiss many conclusions here since Lesser entertains the premise that gender differences are somehow to be related to the romantic myth of the divided selves told by Aristophanes in the Symposium . But the book has much to recommend it.-- Mary Hamel-Schwulst, Towson State Univ., Md.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674392113
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
02/01/1992
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
308
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.65(d)

Meet the Author

Wendy Lesser is editor of The Threepenny Review.

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