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Getting Personal: Feminist Occasions and Other Autobiographical Acts

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ISBN-13: 978-0415903240
ISBN-10: 0415903246
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

What does it mean to speak as a feminist? How does the assumption of that role intersect with one's life history? These two questions are at the heart of Miller's ( Changing the Subject ) new collection of essays and occasional pieces, mainly engendered by "the spectacle of a significant number of critics getting personal in their writing . . . a sign of a turning point in the history of critical practices." The writings that ensue are, for the most part, an engaging reply to the anti-feminist backlash in the academy and the ongoing war over the place of critical theory. Miller asks, "Do you have to turn your back on theory in order to speak with a non-academic voice?" She manages to balance the two here; most of the works are accessible to the general reader. (The piece on why she gave up teaching French is very funny and will strike a responsive chord in many ex-Francophiles.) Miller is particularly eloquent when addressing the question of what feminist scholars "need to master" to survive in the patriarchal institutions of the academy, concluding with an acknowledgment of the contradiction inherent in considering the impact of a writer's gender in an era that proclaims "the Death of the Author."p. 47
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

...an engaging reply to the anti-feminist backlash in the academy and the ongoing war over the place of critical theory.
Publisher's Weekly
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (July 15, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415903246
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415903240
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #553,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

NANCY K. MILLER is the author of the memoir "Breathless: An American Girl in Paris."

In the early 1960s, most middle-class American women in their twenties were preparing for marriage, children, and life in the suburbs. "Breathless" is the story of a girl who represents those who rebelled against conventional expectations. Paris was a magnet for those eager to resist domesticity, and Nancy K. Miller was enamored of everything French. After graduating from Barnard College in 1961, Miller set out for a year in Paris, with a plan to take classes at the Sorbonne and live out a great romantic life inspired by the movies.

After a string of sexual misadventures, she gave up her short-lived freedom and married an American expatriate who promised her a lifetime of three-star meals and five-star hotels. But her husband turned out to be a con man whose promises were lies, and she had to leave Paris behind. In an era of Vietnam anti-war protests, student unrest, and sexual liberation, Miller returned to New York to become a new woman: autonomous and creative at a time when women were only expected to look pretty and smile.

Miller's memoir chronicles a young woman's coming-of-age tale, and offers a glimpse into the intimate lives of girls before feminism.

Nancy K. Miller has written, edited or co-edited more than a dozen volumes, including Getting Personal, Bequest and Betrayal, But Enough About Me, and What They Saved.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jill Walker Rettberg on August 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
The first chapter of this book, "Getting Personal: Autobiography as Cultural Criticism" is worth the whole book. This is a manifesto for personal criticism, that both gives an overview of the kinds of writing that can be called personal criticism and the problematics of the concept. Some feminist theory is densely theoretical, while other feminists argue that we must "turn our back on theory". Miller disagrees with the latter, while arguing for a personally grounded criticism that is not necessarily overtly autobiographical but that is always *intense*. I also found this chapter valuable in finding other examples of personal criticism as well as references to other discussions of this method.
The other essays in this collection are sometimes inspiring as examples of personal criticism, but I have to admit I'm more interested in the technique of writing (and writing seriously) than in the topics she writes about. You may find the opposite.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jill Walker Rettberg on August 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
The first chapter of this book, "Getting Personal: Autobiography as Cultural Criticism" is worth the whole book. This is a manifesto for personal criticism, that both gives an overview of the kinds of writing that can be called personal criticism and the problematics of the concept. Some feminist theory is densely theoretical, while other feminists argue that we must "turn our back on theory". Miller disagrees with the latter, while arguing for a personally grounded criticism that is not necessarily overtly autobiographical but that is always *intense*. I also found this chapter valuable in finding other examples of personal criticism as well as references to other discussions of this method.
The other essays in this collection are sometimes inspiring as examples of personal criticism, but I have to admit I'm more interested in the technique of writing (and writing seriously) than in the topics she writes about. You may find the opposite.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again