WOMAN AND NATURE: The Roaring Inside Her by Susan Griffin

WOMAN AND NATURE: The Roaring Inside Her

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Roaring indeed: a bellow of feminist-ecological protest that aims at poetry and ends in rant. Griffin is burningly angry--with reason--over the outrages inflicted by men on both women and nature, but time and time again her anger turns to humorless invective and philosophical mush. Thus, she begins with an abbreviated, impressionistic ""history of patriarchy's judgments about the nature of matter,"" juxtaposed with some of the ""civilized male's"" sexual prejudices. But Griffin caricatures intellectual history with a random heap of slogans (""And it is decided that God does not die. . . . It is decided that matter cannot know matter""), and similarly lumps together mistaken or vicious opinions about women, in no order whatsoever, with no attributions, and no attempt to distinguish between minor follies and tragic errors. In later sections Griffins rails against sterile male rationality, the separation of mind from emotion, body from soul--taking, as usual, an unquestionably valid insight and drowning it in paranoia and rhetorical excess. She ignores the painful irony that many women have accepted and even rejoiced in their enslavement, just as they have cooperated in despoiling the environment. In the concluding ""Her Vision,"" she gives us a muddled utopian glimpse of loving, earth-bound feminine consciousness. Griffin, who is not ungifted, might profitably have written a long critical essay or short passionate lyrics on her subject. Instead we get a disjointed mix of both: rambling comparisons of women and cows, strip-mining and Caesarean sections, etc. All said, a resounding failure.

Pub Date: Oct. 18th, 1978
Publisher: Harper & Row