A scholarly romp that furthers debate on just whose interests are served by suppressing or canonizing sexual representation....



A reassertion of the female ingenuity that enabled market-minded English literary fiction and its unfettered alternate to flourish.

Providing context via today’s struggles over pornography (a term coined only circa 1864), Mudge (Sara Coleridge, 1989) evenhandedly pits Dworkin and MacKinnon’s ordinances against the bottom line of performance artists such as Lydia Lunch: “Reality is an X-rated trip.” With bite, he explicates the late-17th-century emergence of a cash-sex-fiction nexus—exploiting quack medical manuals, satires and sermons, and licentious verse—to unveil how Behn’s high-flown Love-Letters between a Nobleman and his Sister ripened by 1830 into “Spinster” Mary Wilson’s forthright Whore’s Catechism. While masquerade entertainments provided rich opportunities for baroque prostitutes, independent women who wrote about passion for money were castigated as soulless fiends depriving the state of maternal benefits, infecting the body politic, and preying upon weak-willed men. Legal eradication failing, Defoe’s shrewdly conceived Moll Flanders and Roxana affected last-minute rehabilitations. Richardson undertook to reform both novel and reader by celebrating Pamela, whose virtue—chastity—was richly rewarded on the marriage market (Fielding’s Shamela, on the other hand, laughed). During King George IV’s scabrous divorce trial, the prurient press took cunning Queen Caroline’s side and made a fortune. While government turned justice into entertainment, porn finished emancipating itself from literature: nowadays it is the more “artistic” pornography that is most likely to be brought to trial. Period prints (showcasing Rowlandson) quicken the argument, and excerpts sate curiosity about most of these backdated textual incendiaries. Only occasional jargon or excess recapitulations impede pleasure. One emerges with views enlarged: if the best things in life ought to be free, who foots the bill for censorship?

A scholarly romp that furthers debate on just whose interests are served by suppressing or canonizing sexual representation. (26 b&w figures)

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-19-513505-9

Page Count: 268

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2000

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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