WORKING IT OUT: 23 Women Writers, Artists, Scientists and Scholars Talk About Their Lives and Work by Sara & Pamela Daniels--Eds. Ruddick

WORKING IT OUT: 23 Women Writers, Artists, Scientists and Scholars Talk About Their Lives and Work

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KIRKUS REVIEW

If there is a single overriding theme in the work experiences of these women all doing ""chosen"" or professional work beyond the traditional labors of home and family, it is the sense of social isolation so many have felt on their way ""up."" Since those represented here have ""made it"" in terms of degrees, status jobs at universities, books, and exhibits, there is also a new anxiety: will ""male aspirations"" and professionalism destroy their integrity? In the words of author and teacher Catharine R. Stimpson, ""I. . . achieved what my politics have ultimately taught me to suspect: that membership, albeit marginal, in an elite."" The search for an obscured female tradition in art and culture is affirmed repeatedly. Poet Alice Walker seeks contact with ancient black women who ""sat about the countryside crooning lullabies to ghosts""--their creativity stifled, mutilated by drudgery and want; Adrienne Rich in her perfervid preface writes of her need for access to a communal female past, and of the challenge of making feminism ""an ethics, a methodology."" The extreme alienation of graduate school, the sometimes exorbitant cost of schedule-juggling, the risks of probing beyond male paradigms and expectations (will they take me seriously?): all are recurrent themes. How women set about making space for their creative endeavors varies; tension and stress fill many of the essays but buoyant optimism and playfulness also flash through. The audience will certainly be made up of other professional women who should find here encouragement and solace for their struggles toward autonomy. As well as an enhanced respect for the diversity of accomplishments--from sculpture to molecular biology--which these women represent.

Pub Date: June 27th, 1977
Publisher: Pantheon