Women in Dark Times by Jacqueline Rose

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Do I regard women, as she does, as “custodians of the night”? No, I do not. To see them this way plays into the hands of those who deem women to be “mad”: hysterical, over-emotional, unable to think.
-Guardian

Synopsis

Jacqueline Rose's new book begins with three remarkable women: revolutionary socialist Rosa Luxemburg; German–Jewish painter Charlotte Salomon, persecuted by family tragedy and Nazism; film icon and consummate performer Marilyn Monroe.

Together these women have a shared story to tell, as they blaze a trail across some of the most dramatic events of the last century – revolution, totalitarianism, the American dream. Enraged by injustice, they are each in touch with what is most painful about being human, bound together by their willingness to bring the unspeakable to light.

Taking the argument into the present are today's women, courageous individuals involved in some of the cruellest realities of our times. Grappling with the reality of honour killing – notably through the stories of Shafilea Ahmed, Fadime Sahindal and Heshu Yones – Rose argues that the work of feminism is far from done. In the final three chapters, she celebrates the work of three brilliant contemporary artists – Esther Shalev-Gerz, Yael Bartana and Thérèse Oulton – whose work grows out of an unflinching engagement with all that is darkest in the modern world.

Women in Dark Times shows us how these visionary women offer a new template for feminism. Taking their stand against the iniquities of our times, they tread a path between public and private pain, confronting us with what we need most urgently, but also often, cannot bear to see.
 

About Jacqueline Rose

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Jacqueline Rose is internationally acclaimed as a public intellectual for her writing on feminism, literature, and psychoanalysis and is professor of English, Queen Mary University of London. Her many books include The Haunting of Sylvia Plath and On Not Being Able to Sleep, and a novel, Albertine. She is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books. She lives in London.
 
Published September 11, 2014 by Bloomsbury Publishing. 353 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Women in Dark Times
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Rachel Cooke on Sep 20 2014

Do I regard women, as she does, as “custodians of the night”? No, I do not. To see them this way plays into the hands of those who deem women to be “mad”: hysterical, over-emotional, unable to think.

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Financial Times

Above average
Reviewed by India Ross on Oct 17 2014

Her new book, Women in Dark Times, draws on figures of the 20th century to shed light on the struggles of women today. Her heroines are an improbable trio: Rosa Luxemburg...Charlotte Salomon...and Marilyn Monroe...The three are linked by their art and Rose’s thesis is a measured and decisive stroke in contemporary feminist theory.

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