Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Women Rewriting

From: Jess Nevins (
Date: 27 May 2000

Words from the Monastery wrote:

> > From: Jess Nevins
> > Sent: Saturday, May 27, 2000 9:30 AM
> > Is a rule that has more exceptions than applications still a rule?
> > I can find no or few similarities between the female writers I listed--or
> > indeed any other female writers. After all, one wouldn't say that
> > there's an "African-American perspective" or an "African-American
> > eye," so why say it about women?
> One would say there is an African-American perspective and to deny it would
> get you labeled as a racist in some liberal circles.

So you think an AA from urban Boston would write the same and with the same perspective as an AA from, say, Jim Hogg County in Texas? Or that an AA from Washington, DC, would write the same as one from LA?

You think that simply by sharing the same skin color that all those writers, whose experiences in the US are going to be very different, will write from the same perspective?

> > Funny, but the literati I know and read, in places like the
> > London Review of
> > Books and the NY Review of Book, say no such thing. Of course,
> > they say that
> > Winterson is an overrated poetaster, too.
> You've never seen it said about "Written on the Body" that the protagonist
> is a nameless and genderless narrator? It's on the jacket of the book even.
> Everything I've read about the book states this ... usually in the first
> sentence.

I generally disregard what's on a book jacket for the same reason that people disregard publisher's blurbs.

I have read that comment on rare occasions. More often I've read reviews about "Written on the Body" with phrases like
"failed experiment" and "hilariously bad."

> > Perhaps you should first define what you mean by not writing like a male?
> Ernest Hemmingway, William Faulkner, Henry Miller, Lawrence Block, Ross
> MacDonald, Dashiell Hammett, Herman Melville, Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur
> Conan Doyle, Elmore Leonard, James Ellroy, James Crumley, Jose Latour, etc.,
> write like males ...

They're all men, but that isn't the same thing as writing from a male perspective. I think you'd be hard-pressed to find many similarities between A.C.Doyle and James Ellroy, for one.

But I doubt you and I are going to persuade each other of anything, or that there's much common ground between our two points of view, so I'm going to give up this thread. You can have the last word, if you'd like.


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