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Mothers: An Essay on Love and Cruelty by…
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Mothers: An Essay on Love and Cruelty (edition 2018)

by Jacqueline Rose (Author)

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531396,949 (3.67)1
Mothers: An Essay on Love and Cruelty is guided by a simple argument: that motherhood is the place in our culture where we lodge - or rather bury - the reality of our own conflicts, of psychic life, and what it means to be fully human. Mothers are the ultimate scapegoat for our personal and political failings, for everything that is wrong with the world, which becomes their task (unrealizable, of course) to repair. To the familiar claim that too much is asked of mothers - a long-standing feminist plaint - Rose adds a further dimension. She questions what we are doing when we ask mothers to carry the burden of everything that is hardest to contemplate about our society and ourselves. By making mothers the objects of licensed cruelty, we blind ourselves to the world's iniquities and shut down the portals of the heart. To demonstrate this vicious paradox at work, Rose explores a range of material: investigative writing and policies on motherhood, including newspaper reports, policy documents, and law; drama, novels, poetry, and life stories past and present; social history, psychoanalysis, and feminism. An incisive, rousing call to action, Mothers unveils the crucial idea that unless we recognise what role we are asking mothers to perform in the world, and for the world, we will continue to tear both the world and mothers to pieces.… (more)
Member:alicebraun06
Title:Mothers: An Essay on Love and Cruelty
Authors:Jacqueline Rose (Author)
Info:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2018), 256 pages
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Mothers: An Essay on Love and Cruelty by Jacqueline Rose

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Jacqueline Rose always gives me a lot to think about. This book of essays about motherhood was no exception. The shifting reflections Rose makes here about motherhood in literature and philosophy and in culture fascinated me. I especially loved the way, late in this essay collection, Rose weaves in her personal experience. My only disappointment was that this book could have been so much longer...it covers a lot of ground and in some cases I felt the themes were lightly touched upon rather than explored at the depth they deserved.

So the book felt more like a springing-off-from place, to explore thoughts of my own about motherhood, rather than a finished thesis.

This approach to writing is very Jacqueline Rose-y, in a way, though. I always feel with Rose that I’m being invited to have a conversation with her, rather than being told what to think. This impression lines up nicely with her style of literary criticism which tends to invite dialogue rather than to insist on there being one definitive way to interpret a given literary work. ( )
  poingu | Feb 22, 2020 |
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Mothers: An Essay on Love and Cruelty is guided by a simple argument: that motherhood is the place in our culture where we lodge - or rather bury - the reality of our own conflicts, of psychic life, and what it means to be fully human. Mothers are the ultimate scapegoat for our personal and political failings, for everything that is wrong with the world, which becomes their task (unrealizable, of course) to repair. To the familiar claim that too much is asked of mothers - a long-standing feminist plaint - Rose adds a further dimension. She questions what we are doing when we ask mothers to carry the burden of everything that is hardest to contemplate about our society and ourselves. By making mothers the objects of licensed cruelty, we blind ourselves to the world's iniquities and shut down the portals of the heart. To demonstrate this vicious paradox at work, Rose explores a range of material: investigative writing and policies on motherhood, including newspaper reports, policy documents, and law; drama, novels, poetry, and life stories past and present; social history, psychoanalysis, and feminism. An incisive, rousing call to action, Mothers unveils the crucial idea that unless we recognise what role we are asking mothers to perform in the world, and for the world, we will continue to tear both the world and mothers to pieces.

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