PROUD MAN by Katharine Burdekin


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 A first US edition of another reprinted novel (this originally published in 1934) by Burdekin (1896-1963), who also wrote as ``Murray Constantine'' (Swastika Night, 1985; The End of This Day's business, 1989). In her most impressive re-outings so far, a highly evolved, vegetarian, androgynous, self-fertile, dispassionate, rational, telepathic Person from the far future visits 1930's England in a dream. More than dialectic, less than polemic, Burdekin's ``novel'' offers observations from this detached, implicitly feminist perspective. In the first section, the Person describes and analyses human and British history for his/her contemporaries (though whence the Person derives his/her information isn't clear). Next, the Person meets and talks with an old priest, Andrew Gifford, who calls the Person ``Verona'' and teaches him/her English. Then the Person converses with Leonora Simons, a novelist who's trapped and frustrated by sexual politics and gender identity, and whose child had died. Finally, the Person encounters Gilbert Hassall, a child-murderer who regards the Person, now calling him/herself Gifford Verona, as male. Vastly more readable than other Burdekin reissues, with frequently devastating--and remarkably skillful--feminist analyses. (Be prepared, however, to grit your teeth when the author comes unstuck; her discussion of homosexuality, for instance, is utterly misguided.)

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1993
ISBN: 1-55861-070-7
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Feminist Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1993