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The Deepening Darkness: Patriarchy, Resistance, and Democracy's Future 1st Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521898980
ISBN-10: 0521898986
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Gilligan and Richards leave few stones unturned in this exploration of patriarchy throughout time, beginning with ancient Rome, focusing on its diametric relationship with democracy: "we lack a critical public understanding of this tension, in part because... Roman patriarchy has been absorbed into our religion and political culture." The authors examine patriarchy in many literary sources, from Oedipus Rex and the Bible to Hemingway, Joyce and Freud. Among other themes, they find repeatedly that "exposing the psychology underlying patriarchy touches a nerve so sensitive that it becomes inflammatory," for reasons that include "the dynamics of shame and violence... how closely questions of honor are aligned with questions of gender," and "how intricately gender is woven into the body, into language, and into identity and culture." Authors and gender scholars Gilligan (Kyra, In a Different Voice) and Richards (The Case for Gay Rights, Disarming Manhood) make it clear that patriarchy is omnipresent in our society; discussion of matriarchal societies and literature would have made an enlightening counterpoint. This exhaustive study will be of particular interest to gender studies professionals and students.
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"The Deepening Darkness leads to the light of understanding that there can be no true democracy in public life until we have democratic families and connections in private life. Gilligan and Richards have proven this link. Now it's up to us to live it."
Gloria Steinem

"This is a book with a grand thesis, and it should probably be thought of in the tradition of Hannah Arendt on evil, or Bruno Bettelheim. It argues that patriarchy remains the root of the evils of racism, sexism and much violence in contemporary society. More precisely, the book claims that patriarchy calls for and legitimates the traumatic disruption of intimate relationships, and the effect of such trauma in the human psyche is precisely to suppress personal voice and relationships and to identify with the patriarchal voice that imposed the disruption."
Simon Goldhill, Professor of Classics, Kings College, University of Cambridge

"This historically probing, gracefully literary, and deliciously detailed book brilliantly illuminates the mysterious psychological roots of political domination and defiance."
Stephen Holmes, Walter E. Meyer Professor of Law, NYU School of Law

"Far-ranging in its scope, compelling in its exposition and argument, informed by an inclusive, humane vision and imagination, this ambitious, richly perceptive synoptic study is firmly anchored in the insights and findings of recent scholarship. It brilliantly connects the ancient Roman world with our own. It illuminates as it forges other, riveting connections among a dazzling array of ostensibly disparate topics concerning contemporary Americans, and accords center stage to the role played by a series of canonized western literary masterpieces in making and sustaining these connections."
Judith P. Hallett, Professor, Department of Classics, University of Maryland

"Carol Gilligan and David Richards have written a bold book that draws as palpably on their respective backgrounds in psychology and law as it does on their shared passion for literature. Using an immensely rich set of materials, they explore how patriarchy operates at the atomic level of human consciousness, and how, in doing so, it can destroy even its ostensible beneficiaries. These scholars see the world differently from you, and the book they have written may trigger a welcome conversion."
Kenji Yoshino, Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law, NYU School of Law

"The Deepening Darkness is that rare thing - a cultural study that is not only a delight to read, but one with important practical implications. Gilligan and Richards expose the fundamental organizing role of patriarchy in western consciousness and show that we have been wedded to a false story about human nature, resistance to which is understood as pathology or sin. They provide fascinating descriptions of the error being transmitted through social institutions, and point out its malignant impact on men and women alike. For example, they trace clearly how even psychoanalysis, which began by liberating the individual, became oppressive due to Freud's inability to escape the patriarchical demands embedded in his own psychology."
Owen Renik, former Editor-in-Chief of The Psychoanalytic Quarterly

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (November 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521898986
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521898980
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #770,825 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In this important and fascinating book, the authors bring together the fields of psychology, gender studies, literature and political science to illuminate the impact of patriarchy on men and women and how this impact has compromised the democratic state in the past and how it will, in the long-term, threaten the realisation of full democracy not only in the United States of America but, by implication, in the many fledgling democracies around the world. While the subject matter is scholarly, the writing is clear and accessible to the lay reader and I found this a quick non-fiction read (which is not always the case with non-fiction). I enjoyed the way the authors use “case studies” from literature to bring their theories and observations to life (e.g. Virgil’s 'Aeneid' or Tolstoy’s 'Anna Karenina') and I took away new insights into these works together with a better understanding of the main themes of 'The Deepening Darkness'. This book rings true and it does not leave one with a negative view of men – it simply brings home the damage done to men and women by patriarchy and, if anything, deepens respect and empathy between the sexes. I liked this book very much for that. I found the book a little repetitive at times but this does not detract too much from the reading experience. I purchased the Kindle Edition and would not recommend this for readers busy with research. There is no pagination in the Kindle Edition which will make it difficult to cite information or quotations from the book. I found that when linking to a reference in the footnotes/ bibliography I could not get back to my place in the text, so I had to leave reading the footnotes until the end which is not ideal. Some books I consider “life books” in the sense that they make a contribution to one’s life and this was a life book for me – a worthwhile read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I only recently learned of the literature on voices of women, and this is the first of several books I ordered to explore the subject. At tempted as I have been to take away one star for small blinders (notably the gross over-selling of anti-Semitism, and the complete oblivion to the fact that Dick Cheney used 9-11, even if he is a cross-dresser our response to 9-11 was NOT some deep psychic rage stemming from our humiliation--Cheney sent 1% of the country to war, and Bush asked the other 99% to go shopping.

Having said that up front, I stayed with five stars because this is an epic work, and I am deeply impressed by the rigorous documentation in notes, the spectacular bibliography, and the deliberate mention of names of minds being quoted in the body of the book, a certain mark of integrity that I always look for. Hence, while some of the points below in my notes come without the cited source, be assured that the authors have been meticulous.

QUOTE p. 19: "...patterns of injustice and moral slavery are supported by the repression of resisting voice and to show how such resisting voice is rooted in the human psyche and preserved in cultural forms that preserve and maintain it. ...What patriarchy precludes is love between equals, and thus it also precludes democracy." For the political science version of this, see The modern state.

Part I starts with Roman Patriarchy and if you are not a cultural studies ancient literature obsessive, you can skim most of this. I have a note: "marvelous handbook for teaching literature as culture & psyche." See
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In an rich exercise in making the obvious visible, this book traces some historical, cultural and psychological roots of the strategic uses of trauma in establishing and maintaining gendered/male over female,in contrast to coequal, governance in nation-state and religion. With their thoughtful rereading of history and literature, Richards and Gilligan point the way to important needed work. A provocative read for those concerned about resisting trends of subordination.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thank you very much. I cetainly will look forward to doing more business with you in the near future. Joan
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Format: Hardcover
As the above reviewer says this is a splendidly written, and extensively documented work. Yet his review is full of venom, spiteful innuendos, and ends in a vicious and off-the-point anti-semitic tirade.

The authors start by analyzing written Roman records ranging from poetry to the law in order to explain various features of patriarchy. By doing so they convincingly show that Roman patriarchy still pervades the Western - and one would add the non-Western- world.
As the reviewer acidly says "The authors employ the by-now standard postmodernist techique of close reading of texts selected by them, through which they construct "voices" that convey to us the desires, disappointments, and resistances" of the times.
Saying this the reviewer reduces a rich and brilliant text to a well-prepared, ready-made recipe with no originality or depth.
Given the scarcity of Roman women's writing Gilligan and Richards are also accused of reconstructing practically from nowhere stereotypical views of women and men.
Strangely we continue to find such alleged stereotypes in the vast literature handed down through the centuries and in most societies contemporary or not.....
The reviewer condescendingly concedes that the authors convincingly show the pivotal role of Augustine in transforming Christianity into a sexually repressive culture fostering the "madonna" "whore" splitting of women and the equally oppressive split between the "macho" and the "feminized" man. He also concedes that one of the most valuable aspects of the book is "the brilliant explication of Judaism as a despised, effeminate religion" as seen by the Romans, and later by Augustine and his followers up to the present.
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