"SEASON OF THE WITCH: Border Lines, Marginal Notes" by Gail B. Griffin

"SEASON OF THE WITCH: Border Lines, Marginal Notes"

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A college English teacher's honest, self-searching, and relatively undoctrinaire collection of essays on the teaching life, the remembering life, and the life of the white woman she is and the woman of color she is responsibly aware of not being. Here, Griffin (English and Women's Studies/Kalamazoo College) dilates on such subjects as the particular nature of female best-friendship; which one of the Beatles she had her crush on (it was Paul); and what it's like to be white and teaching Toni Morrison to a classroom of white students (awkward, humbling, and exhilarating). The collection's themes, as indicated in the title, are borders, margins, boundaries--and witches, all of which are familiar to habitual readers of feminist criticism. The essays on teaching and literature--informed as they are by complex interpenetrations of black/white, youth/age, and innocence/experience--are more successful than the rambling personal reminiscences: Griffin is at her high-IQ best giving a good shake to Salman Rushdie's rather obtuse 1992 New Yorker reading of The Wizard of Oz, delivering a defense of the ""politically correct"" curriculum that will melt the resistance of even the most saddened and exasperated literature lover, and explaining how the successful head of a college English department can still be the depressed victim of institutional sexism. At her more typically academic, however, punning (""Wiccadness"") and promiscuously generating rhetorical questions, she will be preaching, albeit cleverly, only to the converted. This is a rare product from an academic world that privileges content over style: a good, fun read for anyone who cares about literature and gender--most notably for those of the author's professional ilk, who are likely to see this as a friend in book form.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1995
Page count: 274pp
Publisher: Trilogy--dist. by Independent Publishers Group