The Mermaid and the Minotaur: Sexual Arrangements and Human Malaise

The Mermaid and the Minotaur: Sexual Arrangements and Human Malaise

The Mermaid and the Minotaur: Sexual Arrangements and Human Malaise

The Mermaid and the Minotaur: Sexual Arrangements and Human Malaise

Excerpt

It must have been somewhere around 1970 that people began urging me to get this book out soon, while it was still timely. But I had in fact outlined the main themes of its first nine chapters, and started writing it, years before it was at all timely in the newspaper-TV sense these people meant. The argument offered here took shape in me not in response to the wave of feminist activism that has swept around it -- and here and there into it -- while it was being written, but as part of a larger project that started to preoccupy me in the late fifties. I originally thought of this project as a single book, entitled The Mermaid and the Minotaur, of which "Sexual Arrangements and Human Malaise" would be one chapter. In the early sixties I started trying out that book's ideas on Rutgers undergraduates in a series of courses: on the pull between individuality and the social milieu; on the split between work and play; on religion; on the love of death and the concept of evil; and -- in 1966 -- on the present book's topic. It became clear that I was working on several books at once, and (by 1968 or so) that of these the one that should be pulled together first was this one, since so many people had suddenly started thinking so hard about the problems it goes into.

But I am a slow, slow writer. In 1976 a book on the gender arrangements can hardly be thought of as freshly topical. That much is just as well, since what I have to say would at no point recommend itself as topical anyway. (Keeping au courant is not my style: newspapers and magazines, and especially TV, are phenomena of which a very little goes a very long way with me; the same is true for meetings, conferences, and workshops.) This statement -- except for Chapter 10, which I did not think out until 1970 -- touches only occasionally and lightly on the present crisis of feminist feeling, deep as my own sense of emotional con-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.