Arms and the Woman: War, Gender, and Literary Representation

By Helen M. Cooper; Adrienne Auslander Munich et al. | Go to book overview

the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II. With the development of nuclear technology, the home front became the battlefront. The final essays in our book address the collapsing of polarities occurring in a nuclear age while pointing to the persistence of the ideology such polarities uphold. Barbara Freeman's essay argues that the dominant discourse on war as well as some feminist antiwar language describes men as implicated in nuclear warfare in a way that women are not. The essay considers ways in which women also contribute to the context that makes nuclear war imaginable. Bringing together nuclear war manuals, the Book of Revelation, and Marguerite Duras's Hiroshima Mon Amour, Freeman demonstrates that the familiar couples of man/woman, war/ peace must be both acknowledged and challenged in order to understand how the nuclear holocaust has come to be imagined, even desired. Gillian Brown's essay draws on texts as diverse as nuclear protest literature and the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) civil defense survival manuals to show how the framers of the nuclear future have embedded a fantastic vision of domestic life in their nuclear "survival" plans. This vision has roots in the nineteenth-century American domestic ideology promoting a possessive individualism. In a chillingly circular and overdetermined process, the domestic ideology has set the stage for the contemporary fantasy of nuclear warfare, while the individualism it promotes also persists in the way we imagine postnuclear society. Brown's essay demonstrates that, in spite of drastic changes in war technology, dominant Western culture still subscribes to a war system that even in a nuclear era figures war as fought along the ancient, conventional lines of "arms and the man." While this collection exposes the heterosexual ideology of war narratives, race, religion, and class are equally fundamental categories in any consideration of power and conflict. War and Memory," a poem by June Jordan that begins this collection, envisages a time when all such categories are rendered obsolete.


Notes

Since this collection went to press, two important books have appeared that further develop the links betweeen war and gender: Mary Lynn Broe and Angela Ingram, eds., Women's Writing in Exile ( Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989) and Sara Ruddick, Maternal Thinking: Toward a Politics of Peace ( Boston: Beacon Press, 1989).

-xix-

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Arms and the Woman: War, Gender, and Literary Representation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Notes xix
  • War and Memory 1
  • Arms and the Woman: The Con[tra]ception of the War Text 9
  • Notes 23
  • Works Cited 23
  • "Still Wars and Lechery": Shakespeare and the Last Trojan Woman 25
  • Notes 39
  • Works Cited 40
  • Rewriting History: Madame de Villedieu and the Wars of Religion 43
  • Notes 55
  • Works Cited 57
  • Southern Women's Diaries of Sherman's March to the Sea, 1864-1865 59
  • Notes 75
  • Works Cited 77
  • Civil Wars and Sexual Territories 80
  • Notes 95
  • Works Cited 96
  • The Women and Men of 1914 97
  • Notes 118
  • Corpus/Corps/Corpse: Writing the Body in/at War 124
  • Notes 159
  • Works Cited 164
  • May Sinclair's The Tree of Heaven: The Vortex of Feminism, the Community of War 168
  • Notes 179
  • Works Cited 182
  • Combat Envy and Survivor Guilt: Willa Cather's "Manly Battle Yarn" 184
  • Notes 201
  • Works Cited 203
  • "Seeds for the Sowing": The Diary of Käthe Kollwitz 205
  • Notes 221
  • Works Cited 223
  • A Needle with Mama's Voice: Mitsuye Yamada's Camp Notes and the American Canon of War Poetry 225
  • Notes 241
  • Feminism, the Great War, and Modern Vegetarianism 244
  • Images of Love and War in Contemporary Israeli Fiction: A Feminist Re-vision 268
  • Notes 277
  • Works Cited 280
  • Nuclear Domesticity: Sequence and Survival 283
  • Notes 299
  • "Epitaphs and Epigraphs: 'The End(s) of Man'" 303
  • Notes 319
  • Works Cited 321
  • A Bibliography of Secondary Sources 323
  • The Contributors 331
  • Index 335
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