Sunday, March 20, 2016

Book Review: The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan

Preach, Arianna Huffington!
    I owe the New York Public Library $4 thanks to this book.  I returned it a couple weeks late.  But whatever, it was worth it!
     This book read like a horror story, but it's actually a well-researched non-fiction investigation of "the problem that has no name" - basically, sexism in the 1960s'.  Mystique has the distinction of being one of the catalysts of the American second-wave feminist movement.  It explores how women were conditioned - through advertising, women's magazines, phony college courses, pseudo-Freudian psychology, peer pressure, etc. - to expect marriage and child-rearing alone to fulfill them.  Even wealthy, college-educated women were encouraged to find a man ASAP and embrace domestic life at the expense of personal identity.  But Friedan noticed that women who did so became depressed and destructive, so in this book she argues that women need intellectual pursuits outside the home in order to be happy and healthy.
     Everyone should read this book.  Of course, it is flawed in that its brand of feminism focuses on white, educated, wealthy housewives, but no single book could possibly encapsulate all of feminism and deal with the problems of all women.  Instead, Mystique should be appreciated as part of a tapestry of feminist texts, a tapestry which includes works by women of all classes, races, and sexual orientations.

     - Carly

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Lolita Resources

Tragedies make me so happy
     Merely reading and reviewing Lolita was not enough for me...I had to go and write a 10-page senior project about the book, as well!  Writing this paper has obliged me to research and read Nabokov-centric literary criticism, interviews, annotations, and more. So if any of you are looking to learn more about Lolita, here is a list of resources I've used in the process of writing my paper. Enjoy! (Or don't...not everyone likes MLA citations.)

Books
Nabokov, Vladimir. The Annotated Lolita. Ed. Alfred Appel, Jr. New York: Vintage Books,
1991.

Criticism
Hall, Chris. “The Significance of Names In The Fiction of Martine Amis, Vladimir Nabokov,
John Kennedy Toole, Joseph Heller, Samuel Beckett, John Updike, Will Self, Umberto
Eco: Waiting for Go.Dot.” Spike Magazine. Spike Magazine, 1 Aug. 1996. Web. 29 Mar.
2016.
Lemay, Eric. “Dolorous Laughter.” Zemlarchive. Zemlarchive, n.d.

Interviews
Brand, Madeleine.  “‘Lolita’ Turns 50, Part 2.” NPR. NPR, 15 Sept. 2005.
Toffler, Alvin. “Playboy Interview: Vladimir Nabokov.” The Playboy Interview: Men of Letters.

Playboy Enterprises Inc., 2012. 

- Carly