The Straight Mind

Overview

These political, philosophical, and literary essays mark the first collection of theoretical writing from the acclaimed novelist and French feminist writer Monique Wittig.

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Overview

These political, philosophical, and literary essays mark the first collection of theoretical writing from the acclaimed novelist and French feminist writer Monique Wittig.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Wittig ( The Lesbian Body ) is a key figure in French feminism, perhaps the foremost theorist of a profoundly radical lesbianism. Half of the nine essays in this brief collection deal directly with the politics of gender, a battlefield on which Wittig has staked out a nearly unique position: ``There is no sex. There is but sex that is oppressed and sex that oppresses.'' Drawing on de Beauvoir, Wittig strenuously resists both biological determinism and its twin, essentialism, arguing that sex itself is a social, ergo ideological, construct and that man and woman are not eternal categories. For women, she concludes, lesbianism is the logical escape from patriarchal domination. Wittig's prose is methodical and aggressive, combative and dense. The book's first half, containing the political essays, is a bit repetitive. The author is at her most elegant in the literary essays, which explicate the complex relationship between literary form and ideology. As a result, these ostensibly literary essays offer the most cogent statement of her political beliefs and, consequently, the most satisfying reading. (Feb.)
Library Journal
A celebrated scholar on several continents and best known for Les Gueilleres ( LJ 1/1/72) and The Lesbian Body ( LJ 10/1/75), Wittig's contribution to the French women's movement and feminist and lesbian theory are internationally renowned. This collection of nine previously published essays, seven of which appeared in Feminist Issues , is a selection of her theoretical writings of the past 14 years. The title essay, a revision of a controversial text delivered to the Modern Language Association (MLA) conference in 1978, concludes that ``lesbians are not women.'' In Wittig's own words, the first half of the collection is devoted to ``materialist lesbianism'' and the second half is about writing, especially how heterosexuality dominates language. A solid candidate for ``core'' readings in upper-level undergraduate sociology, women's studies, and philosophy courses. Highly recommended.-- Melody Burton, York Univ. Libs., Toronto
Booknews
A collection of nine essays of the controversial feminist writer. All first appeared in the last decade. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807079171
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 2/28/1992
  • Pages: 110
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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