OUTERCOURSE by Mary Daly

OUTERCOURSE

The Be-Dazzling Voyage
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Charming Daly (Feminist Ethics/Boston College; Pure Lust, 1984; Gyn/Ecology, 1978, etc.) gives us her side of the story in this ``account of my time/space travels and ideas.'' Daly has always dispensed pretty strong medicine, and in the last few years seems to have opened her own sanatorium: This book employs the same fractured vocabulary and inverted syntax that she established as her lingua franca in Gyn/Ecology. We are taken through the four ``spiral galaxies'' of Daly's life: the first encompassing the period from her birth in 1928 to the publication of The Church and the Second Sex some 40 years later; the second concentrating on the early 70's, when Daly renounced her Catholicism and became a ``Revolting Hag'' bent upon overthrowing patriarchy; the third carrying her deeper into the fray through the increasing extremity of her opinions as they developed up to 1987; and the fourth bringing her into the present/future. What rescues this from complete opacity is Daly's willingness to illustrate every new turn in her thought with some personal incident--usually something that occurred on holiday or with one of her cats--and to return frequently and vehemently to the bitter experiences of her childhood and youth to explain her intellectual genesis. Moreover, the most lurid passages of Dalyese (``Having arrived at the Moment of participation in the Background Present, we Unfold our wings and soar into an expanded Present which is off the calendars, off the clocks or clockocracy'') sound a good deal more congenial when held against the flatness of her ``normal'' prose (``I landed in Paris and was filled with wonder and ecstasy at every sight and sound. This was all like a fairy tale, and it was happening to me''). There is a ``Great Summation'' of sorts at the end, which doesn't really clear things up. Nothing new for Daly fans, and little help to Daly scholars: Like all good preachers, Daly reveals very little of herself in the end.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-06-250194-1
Page count: 480pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1992