Duras, etc.

June 28, 2013 § 2 Comments

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Jane Winston, “Marguerite Duras: Marxism, Feminism, Writing” in Theatre Journal (Vol. 47, No. 3, Oct 1995)

I was reading Marguerite Duras’ The Lover again a few weeks ago. It’s so weird, how political this book is, in its exploration of white femininity and colonialism and poverty. Weird because appreciation of The Lover, or criticism of it, tends to depoliticise the book—it’s often reduced to generalised descriptions of “female desire” or “love” when the crucial thing about The Lover is how her desire and her gaze is refracted through poverty; her poverty shapes it and give it its energy. How the gaze is that of a poor woman, but also that of a white French woman in colonial Indochina. Poor colonial women among the natives. How that makes of also a monster of sorts, and not through her own making. Sour maternal love and the regime of brotherhood and property-less girls and relations shaped and defined by a cold colonialist-capitalist logic, the relation with her lover that both mirrored that logic and exceeded it.

Winston writes, “there was nothing really revolutionary about the claim that the desire and sexuality at issue in Duras are ‘feminine’.”

There really isn’t. That’s why it’s that claim that has gotten the most traction.

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father’s day

June 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

“We don’t forget,

but something vacant settles in us.”

–Roland Barthes, Mourning Diary

For those of us (still) in mourning, or for whom mourning has become a continuous process, a fluid thing, just like Barthes said.

all the single ladies

June 15, 2013 § 4 Comments

Why capital doesn’t like single women:

A woman of marriageable age who is neither wife nor mother, or who for some reason does not become fully a part of the housework labor-force, is under-employed. In other words, she carries out housework in a more limited way than her potential work capacity would allow. Hence single mothers — who do not reproduce a husband/male worker — are under-employed; so is a married woman with no children, who reproduces only a husband; and so also is the divorced, separated or widowed woman who has not remarried. The woman who is of marriageable age but remains single is, however, “non-employed”: she reproduces neither husband nor children. (“Unemployed” cannot really be used here, because every woman living under capitalism who does not live on unearned income, must always reproduce at least her own labor-power.)

From Leopoldina Fortunati’s The Arcane of Reproduction: Housework, Prostitution, Labor and Capital.

Let’s get #reproducingneitherhusbandnorchildren trending on Twitter!

I’m too dumb for Fortunati but I press on. I was bingeing on Trixie Belden books and Josephine Tey mysteries for the last week because I needed comfort reading, where I wanted to read and couldn’t read and so I read things where everything followed a convention, a formula. And so, dear reader, I discovered that you must not go from Trixie Belden to Italian autonomist marxist feminism just like that — you gotta ease into it.

Despite that, Fortunati is, as the kids say, blowing my mind. (Do the kids still say that?)

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