From Pulitzer-Prize-nominated author Susan Griffin comes an unprecedented, provocative look at the dazzling world of the West's first independent women, whose lively liaisons brought them unspoken influence, wealth, and freedom.While they charmed some of Europe's most illustrious men honing their social skills as well as their sexual ones, the great courtesans gained riches, power, education, and sexual freedom in a time when other women were denied all of these. From Imperia of sixteenth-century Rome, who personified the Renaissance ideal of beauty; Mme. de Pompadour, the arbiter of all things fashionable in eighteenth-century Paris and Versailles; Liane de Pougy, known in France during the Belle Epoque as "Our National Courtesan"; to Sarah Bernhardt, who, following in her mother's footsteps, supported herself in her early career with a second profession, The Book of the Courtesans tells the life stories and intricacies of the lavish lifestyles of these women. Unlike their geisha counterparts, courtesans neither lived in brothels nor bent their wills to suit their suitors. They were strong- willed, autonomous, and plucky.An open secret, their presence can be felt throughout our culture. The muses who enflamed the hearts and imaginations of our most celebrated artists, they were also artists in their own right. They wrote poetry and novels, invented the cancan at the Moulin Rouge, and presented celebrated acts at the Folies Bergères. They helped to influence and shape the sensibility of modern literature, painting, and fashion. When Greek sculptor Praxiteles wanted to depict Venus he used a famous courtesan as a model, as in later centuries Titian, Veronese, Raphael, Giorgione, and Boucher did when they painted goddesses. When Marcel Proust was a young man it was the courtesan Laure Hayman who took him under her wing, introducing him to the right people, and providing inspiration for one of literature's greatest masterpieces. And they often had considerable political influence too. When King Louis XV needed advice on foreign affairs or appointments of state he turned to Jeanne du Barry as well as Pompadour.In her witty and insightful prose, as Griffin celebrates these alluring and fascinating women, she restores a lost legacy of women's history. She gives us the stories of these amazing women who, starting from impoverished or unimpressive beginnings, garnered chateaux, fine coaches, fabulous collections of jewelry, and even aristocratic titles along the way. And through a brilliant exploration of their extraordinary abilities, skills, and talents which Griffin playfully categorizes as their virtues "Timing, Beauty, Cheek, Brilliance, Gaiety, Grace, and Charm" her book explains how, while helping themselves, through their often outrageous, always entertaining examples, the great courtesans not only enriched our cultural heritage but helped to liberate women from the social, sexual, and economic strictures that confined them.Intensively researched and beautifully crafted, The Book of the Courtesans delves into scintillating but often hidden worlds, telling stories gleaned from many sources, including courtesans' memoirs, presented along with stunning rare photographs to create memorable portraits of some of the most pivotal figures in women's history.
A brilliant and provocative exploration of the interconnection of private life and the large-scale horrors of war and devastation A Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist, and a winner of the Bay Area Book Reviewers Association Award, Susan Griffin's A Chorus of Stones is an extraordinary reevaluation of history that explores the links between individual lives and catastrophic, world-altering violence. One of the most acclaimed and poetic voices of contemporary American feminism, Griffin delves into the perspective of those whose personal relationships and family histories were profoundly influenced by war and its often secret mechanisms: the bomb-maker and the bombing victim, the soldier and the pacifist, the grand architects who were shaped by personal experience and in turn reshaped the world. Declaring that "each solitary story belongs to a larger story"--and beginning with the brutal and heartbreaking circumstances of her own childhood--Griffin examines how the subtle dynamics of parenthood, childhood, and marriage interweave with the monumental violence of global conflict. She proffers a bold and powerful new understanding of the psychology of war through illuminating glimpses into the personal lives of Ernest Hemingway, Mahatma Gandhi, Heinrich Himmler, British officer Sir Hugh Trenchard, and other historic figures--as well as the munitions workers at Oak Ridge, a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing, and other humbler yet indispensible witnesses to history.
Written by one of America's most innovative and articulate feminists, this book illustrates how childhood experience, gender and sexuality, private aspirations, and public personae all assume undeniable roles in the causes and effects of war.
A brilliant collection of thought-provoking essays on gender, nature, passion, and society from an acclaimed feminist, philosopher, and poet In The Eros of Everyday Life, one of America's most provocative writers and thinkers offers insightful and compelling views on a wide range of social, ecological, and gender issues. From a distinctly feminist point of view, Susan Griffin explores the intricate connections between science and religion, nature and society, women and men, and love and consciousness. She brilliantly commingles lyrical memoir with cogent social commentary, producing a colorful literary tapestry that examines contemporary life and culture, its contradictions and complexities, and the rise of new ideologies. The Eros of Everyday Life showcases a decade's worth of the very best writing by this acclaimed Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. It is an enthralling anthology that reveals the ways in which Western society undermines itself by diminishing both woman and the natural environment, and yet it is also a celebration of the power of passion, and the remarkable evolution of the human capacity for love.
A masterwork of feminist ideology, brilliantly exposing pornography as the antithesis of free expression and the enemy of liberty In this powerful and devastating critique, poet, philosopher, and feminist Susan Griffin exposes the inherent psychological horrors of pornography. Griffin argues that, rather than encouraging expression, pornographic images and the philosophies that support them actually stifle freedoms through the dehumanization, subjugation, and degradation of female subjects. The pornographic mindset, Griffin contends, is akin to racism in that it causes dangerous schisms in society and promotes sexual regression, fear, and hatred. This violent rift in Western culture is explored by examining the lives of six notable individuals across two centuries: Franz Marc, the Marquis de Sade, Kate Chopin, Lawrence Singleton, Anne Frank, and Marilyn Monroe. The result is an extraordinary new approach to evaluating sexual health and the parameters of erotic imagination. Griffin reveals pornography as "not a love of the life of the body, but a fear of bodily knowledge, and a desire to silence Eros."
A powerful feminist examination of the deeply ingrained roots of rape in our shared cultural values Rape is the most frequently occurring violent crime in America. In this courageous, controversial, and groundbreaking work, the poet, feminist, and philosopher Susan Griffin examines rape as an inevitable result of a culture that celebrates and rewards aggressive sexual behavior in men, and one in which male dominance and female submissiveness have long been considered natural. With razor-sharp intelligence, clear-eyed candor, and surprising lyricism, Griffin explores the psychological, historical, political, and societal underpinnings of this devastating act, which cruelly denies a victim her self-determination. By viewing the dark phenomenon of rape through the lens of her personal experience--and through the words of injured parties, writers, legal agencies, and the media--Griffin's powerful discourse is an essential contribution to feminist thought and literature.
This inspired collection offers a new paradigm for moving the world beyond violence as the first, and often only, response to violence. Through essays and poetry, prayers and meditations, Transforming Terror powerfully demonstrates that terrorist violence--defined here as any attack on unarmed civilians--can never be stopped by a return to the thinking that created it. A diverse array of contributors--writers, healers, spiritual and political leaders, scientists, and activists, including Desmond Tutu, Huston Smith, Riane Eisler, Daniel Ellsberg, Amos Oz, Fatema Mernissi, Fritjov Capra, George Lakoff, Mahmoud Darwish, Terry Tempest Williams, and Jack Kornfield--considers how we might transform the conditions that produce terrorist acts and bring true healing to the victims of these acts. Broadly encompassing both the Islamic and Western worlds, the book explores the nature of consciousness and offers a blueprint for change that makes peace possible. From unforgettable firsthand accounts of terrorism, the book draws us into awareness of our ecological and economic interdependence, the need for connectedness, and the innate human capacity for compassion.
Drama \ 5f \ Unit set \ A play in poetry about the lives of five women who don't know one another, nor speak to each other. Rather they're telling their life stories to the audience. Each is facing some crisis in life. Erin speaks bitterly of suicide. Kate, near the end of a life in which she always overcame circumstances, is fearful of death. All the voices speak in counterpoint to one another, leaving an unspoken dialogue as they echo one another. The play moves in counterpoint and resonance until the women speak in chorus their voices exchanging scenes from a common history. Then each sees where her life has moved her. In the end these women's voices are no longer isolated, nor are their lives separate. Voices opened to great audience acclaim in New York City.
In this boldly intimate and intelligent blend of personal memoir, social history, and cultural criticism, Susan Griffin profoundly illuminates our understanding of illness. She explores its physical, emotional, spiritual, and social aspects, revealing how it magnifies our yearning for connection and reconciliation. Griffin begins with a gripping account of her own harrowing experiences with Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS), a potentially life-threatening illness that has been misconstrued and marginalized through the label "psychosomatic." Faced with terrifying bouts of fatigue, pain, and diminished thinking, the shame of illness, and the difficulty of being told you are "not really ill," she was driven to understand how early childhood loss made her susceptible to disease. Alongside her own story, Griffin weaves in her fascinating interpretation of the story of Marie du Plessis, popularized as the fictional Camille, an eighteenth-century courtesan whose young life was taken by tuberculosis. In the old story, Griffin finds contemporary themes of "money, bills, creditors, class, social standing, who is acceptable and who not, who is to be protected and who abandoned." In our current economy, she sees "how to be sick can impoverish, how poverty increases the misery of sickness, and how the implicit violence of this process wounds the soul as well as the body." Griffin insists that we must tell our stories to maintain our own integrity and authority, so that the sources of suffering become visible and validated. She writes passionately of a society where we are all cared for through "the rootedness of our connections. How the wound of being allowed to suffer points to a need to meet at the deepest level, to make an exchange at the nadir of life and death, the giving and taking which will weave a more spacious fabric of existence, communitas, community." Her views of the larger problems of illness and society are deeply illuminating.
A seminal work of the eco-feminist movement, connecting patriarchal society's mistreatment of women with its disregard for the Earth's ecological well-beingWoman and Nature draws from a vast and enthralling array of literary, scientific, and philosophical texts in order to explore the relationship between the denigration of women and the disregard for the Earth. In this singular work of love, passion, rage, and beauty, Susan Griffin ingeniously blends history, feminist philosophy, and environmental concerns, employing her acclaimed poetic sensibilities to question the mores of Western society. Griffin touches upon subjects as diverse as witch hunts, strip mining, Freudian psychology, and the suppression of sexuality to decry a long-standing history of misogyny and environmental abuse. A sometimes aggravating, often inspiring, and always insightful literary collage, this remarkable volume offers sanity, poetry, intelligence, and illumination.
In this famously provocative cornerstone of feminist literature, Susan Griffin explores the identification of women with the earth both as sustenance for humanity and as victim of male rage. Starting from Plato's fateful division of the world into spirit and matter, her analysis of how patriarchal Western philosophy and religion have used language and science to bolster their power over both women and nature is brilliant and persuasive, coming alive in poetic prose.Griffin draws on an astonishing range of sourcesfrom timbering manuals to medical texts to Scripture and classical literaturein showing how destructive has been the impulse to disembody the human soul, and how the long separated might once more be rejoined. Poet Adrienne Rich calls Woman and Nature "perhaps the most extraordinary nonfiction work to have merged from the matrix of contemporary female consciousnessa fusion of patriarchal science, ecology, female history and feminism, written by a poet who has created a new form for her vision... The book has the impact of a great film or a fresco; yet it is intimately personal, touching to the quick of woman's experience."