120) Learwife, J. R. Thorp

Picked this up after an email from the Folger about their bookclub, which is happening next week. Yay! Loved this. Echoes of Matrix. Lauren Groff, which also about a noblewoman in a convent. Need to reread King Lear, because it’s been a while– Finished it in a great gulp, started yesterday, up at 5 to finish it today. (I keep doing that.) Theoretical underpinnings that came to mind: beginning of Women and Madness, where Phyllis Chesler talks about the way the patriarchy constructs tensions between mothers and daughters (as mothers are required to train their daughters into the restrictions); and (stay with me here) Saidiya Hartman’s Venus in Two Acts, primarily the concept of critical fabulation– I think I’m broadening her term out too much, in losing specificity it may lose power, but I’m thinking about the way these alternate narratives of originally men’s stories (Desdemona, Penelopiad, Learwife, Circe, and etc and etc and etc) devalue or complicate the offical narrative. I want to teach this, in a class of revisions. Maybe called critical fabulations? That’s a good title. I need to firm up my understanding of that concept, and the purposes thereof– I refered in class to Audre Lorde’s Poetry is not a Luxury, the purpose of poetry and imagination is to plot the way to liberty…

Anyway, such a good book.


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