Womens Mysteries: Toward a Poetics of Gender

by Christine Downing

Book, 2003



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Spring Journal, Inc (2003), 237 pages

Physical description

237 p.; 6 inches

Local notes

In Women's Mysteries Christine Downing celebrates the gains and achievements of women, psychologically speaking, as they have been recovered, reclaimed, repossessed by women over the past several decades. Her title is itself a conscious appropriation, in homage, of a book Esther Harding wrote fifty years ago and an extension of her own much celebrated book The Goddess.
Believing that women have "become stong and clear enough to move outside our sequestered circle," Downing argues that "it is time to move beyond a focus on the psychology of women to a psychology of the human." Specifically what she works toward is a "poetics of gender," seeing gender as a created reality always in the process of being made and remade, exploring the ways we humans imagine sexual difference and what longing and fears these images betray, admitting that "man" and "woman" are fictive terms, images that hide as well as reveal.
Women's Mysteries is a marvelously humane mix of the intellectual and the personal, the conceptual and the poetic, the mythological and the psychological, a book "written from a female perspective... about and for all human beings."
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