In Of Woman Born, originally published in 1976, influential poet and feminist Adrienne Rich examines the patriarchic systems and political institutions that define motherhood. Exploring her own experience?as a woman, a poet, a feminist, and a mother?she finds the act of mothering to be both determined by and distinct from the institution of motherhood as it is imposed on all women everywhere. A ?powerful blend of research, theory, and self-reflection? (Sandra M. Gilbert, Paris Review), Of Woman Born revolutionized how women thought about motherhood and their own liberation. With a stirring new foreword from National Book Critics Circle Award?winning writer Eula Biss, the book resounds with as much wisdom and insight today as when it was first written.
This book is a sociological analysis of motherhood - the institution - an examination across several cultures (though mostly those leading to American), invoking myth, psychology, feminist theory, Marxism and more. At times, Rich's anger was uncomfortable - I don't feel it in the same way myself. But mostly, it was galvanizing. I came out of the book realizing how very much the institution is culturally determined and how much it would be possible to change - and how much better we would all be if we did change it. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to think about parenthood, of either sex, or to understand the role of parenthood and mothering in our culture. If you are honest, it will make you uncomfortable - but I think that's a good thing.