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Thursday, 5 January 2017

What we talk about when we talk about Anna Karenina's suicide

As written in an earlier post, just the other day a guy started a conversation with me and then called Tolstoy a bad writer, a hypocrite, a misogynist, adding that his wife rewrote all of his novels (this guy, as you can see, seemed to be fond of labels, and introduced himself as pansexual, non-binary, postmodern, feminist, etc.), I now have just come across this piece: 
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/13/books/review/throwing-anna-under-the-train.html?action=click&contentCollection=books&module=NextInCollection&region=Footer&pgtype=article&version=column&rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Fbook-review-critics-take&_r=0
Okay, look at this: 
"... You try to disguise your appropriation by taking this woman’s name as the title of your book. But women everywhere see through your ruse. Real-life Anna Kareninas understand that you are projecting your ignorant, arrogant phallocentric fantasies onto a female character whose humanity you have stripped away." 
Wow. I mean, wow. 
I don't know what to say. Is this piece meant to be taken ironically or unironically? If it's a satire of hardcore, distorting feminist criticism, like The Madwoman in the Attic, I couldn't tell, because The Madwoman in the Attic is (unfortunately) very serious. 

2 comments:

  1. This lunatic's assessment is another case of literary criticism having been hijacked by secular liberal personal agenda B.S., a corruption of lit crit all too common in recent decades in which the critics (taking themselves and their real or imagined grievances against the world far too seriously) are more important than the text. Well, don't fall for that kind of navel-gazing crap, Di! The more I encounter this kind of writing, I am more convinced that New Criticism (of the mid-20th century) had it right! Tolstoy is more important than this pansexual postmodern feminist will ever be (even in his own mind).

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  2. So this Todd Gitlin steps in like a knight in shiting armour to speak for wimmin? If Tolstoy's willie debars him from doing so, why not Todd's?

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