Based on some of the last lectures historian Fox-Genovese (1941–2007) delivered, this little book concisely corrals her thought about marriage. Shaped by her professional passage from Marxist-feminist women’s studies pioneer to Catholic convert concerned about the effects of secular liberalism, she eventually saw marriage as mortally endangered by individualism, which corrodes traditional familial and other group identifications with the acid of personal will and desire. Particular individualist ideologies, including feminism, market capitalism, and civil rights egalitarianism, have powerfully, if sometimes inadvertently, attacked marriage as the foundational institution of women’s oppression and the conventional family as a thwarter of women’s self-realization. Everywhere, individualism has tended to transform human relations from transactions of mutual responsibility into competitions that the stronger contestant wins; for example, the woman prevails over the child in utero, as she should according to the logic of abortion rights. Never denying the real benefits of individualism, Fox-Genovese prefers Christianity for better balancing the independent and social dimensions of each human being. One needn’t be religious to be made more thoughtful, more mindful, by her arguments. --Ray Olson
About the Author
Elizabeth Fox-Genovese (1941–2007) was the Eléonore Raoul Professor of History at Emory University, where she was also the founding director of the Institute for Women’s Studies. She received the National Humanities Medal from President Bush in 2003, was a member of the Governing Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and was a recipient of the Cardinal Wright Award from the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars. Her books include Women and the Future of the Family; Reconstructing History: The Emergence of a Historical Society (coedited with Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn); and “Feminism Is Not the Story of My Life”: How the Elite Women’s Movement Has Lost Touch with Women’s Real Concerns.