THE MADWOMAN'S UNDERCLOTHES: Essays and Occasional Writings 1968-85 by Germaine Greer

THE MADWOMAN'S UNDERCLOTHES: Essays and Occasional Writings 1968-85

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KIRKUS REVIEW

From the start, Greer's has been a memorable voice--direct, passionate, unrepentant--and this collection of her writings is witness to the tenacity of her personal vision. Frequently characterized as brash and outrageous, she is also a shrewd observer of contemporary life and a strong foe of exploitations. Greer's early image as an ardent feminist followed publication of The Female Eunuch, then intensified after a Town Hall debate with Norman Mailer and the appearance of several articles on lively subjects (e.g., not wearing underpants)--which armed her opponents for years, diverting many from the essentially serious nature of her concerns. Read here in chronological order, these essays and columns reflect a broad range of interests, from counterculture scenes (legalization of pot, groupie behavior) to feminist subjects (attitudes of doctors, pornography) to issues of global significance (resettlement in Ethiopia, poverty in Brazil), and demonstrate her insight, basic decency, and an ongoing commitment to pluralism. She presents a funny and admiring view of women in Cuba (a hard life but a good one), dismisses the UN's tokenistic International Women's Year (1975) as ""one long Mother's Day,"" and recalls a kindly neighbor to dramatize the resources of the elderly. Even when the subject nears the trivial (why a magazine's male pinups failed), Greer argues with full conviction (""women persist in loving people and not shapes"") and separates the substance from the hoopla. It's hard to imagine anyone else reviewing Jan Morris' Conundrum with such deep regard for ex-wife Elizabeth, or faulting anti-abortionists for lapses in logic and ""grammatical blight."" or reporting quite so suitably on raped women in refugee camps and a happening called the Wet Dream Film Festival. Undeniably, the language in some of these pieces and the ideas they express may still shock some readers, but Greet is informed, intelligent, genial, and never boring, and this is a provocative one-woman show.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1987
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly--dist. by Little, Brown