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The Birth of Pleasure
Synopses & Reviews
From the author of the groundbreaking In a Different Voice — a major new book about love and the forces that stand in the way of pleasure. Tracing a lineage from Greek mythology to our own most intimate relationships, Carol Gilligan asks why, generation after generation, we relive tragic stories of loss and betrayal, and sets out to create a radical new map of love.
Within the sweep of this adventurous book, Gilligan becomes our guide on a journey that takes us through novels and dreams, ancient legends and contemporary research to an illumination of modern couples in crisis. She shows us that, although the women's movements of the 20th century have challenged patriarchal structures, the underlying patterns remain: the early channeling of boys into "masculinity, " the double consciousness of girls in adolescence, the silences between men and women, the splits between our social and inner selves. In the haunting love story of Psyche and Cupid, Gilligan discovers a crucial tale of resistance -- showing us that the path of pleasure can be found in the heart of tragedy, that joy and harmony can defy anger and pain.
The Birth of Pleasure rings with the voices of girls and boys, mothers and fathers, lovers and couples. It echoes with telling readings of familiar writers from Shakespeare to Proust, from Hawthorne to Freud, from Toni Morrison to Michael Ondaatje and Arundhati Roy. Gilligan's pioneering scholarship, superb writing, revolutionary argument, and optimistic conclusion will make this one of the most talked about books of the year.
"Well-meaning though she is, Carol Gilligan may be as guilty in her own way of revering ? of fetishizing ? young girls as the fashion and entertainment industries. No doubt she detests those industries for all sorts of distortions of a girl's life; but she, too, cannot let a girl be. Gilligan's image of American girls is different, certainly: she does not linger over (or even adequately note) their sexuality, their aggression, or their ambition. But in its own high-minded fashion, Gilligan's fascination with girlhood is just as constraining, just as laden with expectations, as any fan's (or promoter's) fascination with Britney Spears....Gilligan burdens the American girl with her kind of authenticity; but they are all in the business of making the American girl carry the American burden. Maybe the biggest favor that the theorists of girl-world and the marketers of girl-world could do for actually existing girls would be to leave them alone. Their lives are complicated enough without all these yokes of exemplariness." Margaret Talbot, The New Republic (read the entire New Republic review)
"Why has the love story in Western culture long assumed that pleasure leads to death, that love leads to loss? Carol Gilligan, in this brilliantly written book, explores the history of these associations, then traces the roots of an alternative narrative and draws a map to send us on our way. This is a wonderful book!" Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
"An intellectual tour de force." Kirkus Reviews
"With poetic eloquence and fiery passion, Carol Gilligan may well be on the way to wresting pleasure from the brutal heart of patriarchy. Her book does no less than reconfigure what it might mean to love and be loved, a revolutionary act in itself." Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues
The author of "In a Different Voice" offers a major new book about love and the forces that stand in the way of pleasure.
About the Author
Carol Gilligan is one of America’s most distinguished writers and teachers in the field of psychology. She was born and raised in New York City and earned her Ph.D. from Harvard, where she was a member of the faculty for thirty-four years. Her award-winning research led in 1997 to the creation of Harvard’s first professorship in Gender Studies and in 2001 to the founding of the university’s Center for Gender and Education. In a Different Voice has been translated into seventeen languages. She returned to New York and is now University Professor at NYU. She lives with her husband in New York City and in the Berkshires.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General