by Liam & Bernadine Jacot Hudson ‧ RELEASE DATE: Feb. 18, 1992
According to the husband-and-wife team of scientist Hudson (Nightlife: The Interpretation of Dreams, 1986) and Jacot (a painter and psychological researcher), the psychological differences between men and women arise from a trauma suffered during infancy by men, in differentiating themselves from their mothers. This trauma, the authors say, creates a ""wound"" predisposing men intellectually to abstract, formal, and mechanical thought, occupationally to being scientists and technicians, and emotionally to depersonalizing women and to humanizing objects. The most interesting and eloquent passages here refer to the relationship between ""eros and intellect"" in great men such as Isaac Newton, philosophers such as Descartes, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche, and students of human behavior such as Kinsey, Freud, and Skinner--whose systems of thought, the authors say, were depersonalized versions of their own ""wound,"" and who made productive use of the energy created by their developmental crises. The most moving passages involve creative artists--Weston the photographer, Hardy the poet, and Bonnard the painter--whose depersonalizations of women were raised to the level of art while their personal lives displayed their failure to relate to living women. (This paradigm, the authors argue, also pertains to sexual deviants.) Despite its adherence to debatable ideas (e.g., that men are imperfect women; that homosexuality is a perversion; that the origins of art are pathological, and its expression compensatory), this study is especially interesting in a late-feminist cultural setting and in its speculative approach to what Hudson and Jacot call the ""gender industry,"" as they complement recent scientific studies of the biological basis of sexuality. Most fascinating, though, is how the book vividly both illustrates its own thesis and undermines it: characterized by formality, mechanical thinking, abstraction, depersonalization, and misogyny, the intellectual style supposedly conditioned by the male ""wound,"" it was co-authored by a woman as well as by a man.
Pub Date: Feb. 18, 1992
Page Count: 256
Publisher: Yale Univ. Press
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1992
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