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Valerie Solanas: The Defiant Life of the Woman Who Wrote Scum (and Shot Andy Warhol)by Breanne Fahs
Synopses & Reviews
Too drastic, too crazy, too "out there," too early, too late, too damaged, too much—Valerie Solanas has been dismissed but never forgotten. She has become, unwittingly, a figurehead for women's unexpressed rage, and stands at the center of many worlds. She inhabited Andy Warhol's Factory scene, circulated among feminists and the countercultural underground, charged men money for conversation, despised "daddy's girls," and outlined a vision for radical gender dystopia.
Known for shooting Andy Warhol in 1968 and for writing the polemical diatribe SCUM Manifesto, Solanas is one of the most famous women of her era. SCUM Manifesto—which predicted ATMs, test-tube babies, the Internet, and artificial insemination long before they existed—has sold more copies, and has been translated into more languages, than nearly all other feminist texts of its time.
Shockingly little work has interrogated Solanas's life. This book is the first biography about Solanas, including original interviews with family, friends (and enemies), and numerous living Warhol associates. It reveals surprising details about her life: the children nearly no one knew she had, her drive for control over her own writing and copyright, and her elusive personal and professional relationships.
Valerie Solanas addresses how this era changed the world and depicts an iconic figure whose life is at once tragic and remarkable.
Breanne Fahs is an associate professor of women and gender studies at Arizona State University, a practicing clinical psychologist, and the author of Performing Sex and The Moral Panics of Sexuality.
"Fahs (Performing Sex), director of Arizona State University's Feminist Research on Gender and Sexuality Group, offers a straightforward, engaging, and comprehensive biography of Valerie Solanas, author of the SCUM Manifesto and notorious as the woman who shot Andy Warhol. Rather than focusing on the Warhol shooting, Fahs gives a refreshing degree of weight to not only SCUM Manifesto — and its contribution to the birth of radical feminism — but also to Solanas's earlier writings and creative pursuits, such as her playwriting and attempts at publishing in periodicals. Fahs, who interviewed her subject's family, friends, enemies, as well as Warhol associates, doesn't shy away from how hated and feared Solanas was by many feminists of the era, such as Betty Friedan, but she portrays Solanas as melancholy, warm, and emotionally broken, as well as violent and combative. While some characters pop up and drop away depending on their relevance to Solanas's life in the moment, giving a disjointed feel to the narrative, Fahs ably fills a notable gap in feminist history with this accessible volume. 36 b&w photos. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The electrifying story of the woman who wrote SCUM Manifesto and shot Andy Warhol.
About the Author
Breanne Fahs is an associate professor of women and gender studies at Arizona State University, where she specializes in studying women's sexuality, critical embodiment studies, radical feminism, and political activism. She has a BA in women's studies/gender studies and psychology from Occidental College and a PhD in women's studies and clinical psychology from the University of Michigan. She has published widely in feminist, social science, and humanities journals and recently published her book Performing Sex with SUNY Press (2011) and The Moral Panics of Sexuality (forthcoming with Palgrave in October 2013). She is the director of the Feminist Research on Gender and Sexuality Group at Arizona State University, and also works as a private practice clinical psychologist specializing in sexuality, couples work, and trauma recovery.
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