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Title: Review of 'The unsociable sociability of women's lifewriting', edited by Anne Collett and Louise D'Arcens, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010, 228 pp., £50.00 (hardback), ISBN 978 0 2302 4647 8
Contributor(s): Williamson, Rosemary A  (author)
Publication Date: 2012
DOI: 10.1080/17449855.2011.639943
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Abstract: This collection, which arises from a project on women's lifewriting at the University of Wollongong, presents a coherent explication of its subject. Editors Anne Collett and Louise D'Arcens draw on 18th-century political philosophy to frame 12 essays on women's lifewriting, and they do so to illuminating ends. The title borrows from Kant's notion of 'ungesellige Geselligkeit' - "unsociable sociability" - according to which human beings strive, contradictorily, for both singularity and community, an antagonism which drives them to transcend their fellows and, as a result, advance culturally. Collett and D'Arcens do not slavishly follow Kant; rather, they choose unsociable sociability as an apt expression of the complex interplay of two conditions - that of belonging to, and being separate from, social institutions - that distinguishes women's lifewriting, and of the ways in which women's lifewriting articulates, negotiates and embodies the tensions inherent in this interplay. As the editors note in their lucid introductory essay, unsociable sociability is a concept novel in scholarship on lifewriting, if not other fields, but it lends itself well to the "fundamentally heuristic" objective of this volume. For readers interested in women's lifewriting generally, the scope and diversity of the collection are inviting.
Publication Type: Review
Source of Publication: Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 48(3), p. 334-335
Publisher: Routledge
Place of Publication: London, United Kingdom
ISSN: 1744-9863
Field of Research (FOR): 200508 Other Literatures in English
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified
HERDC Category Description: D3 Review of Single Work
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