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Showalter, Elaine. INVENTING HERSELF: CLAIMING A FEMINIST INTELLECTUAL HERITAGE. New York City, NY: Scribner, 2001. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 384 pages. Fine/Fine.

Book-length account on subject. One of the most important intellectual histories on the Feminist Movement. The First Hardcover Edition. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a small and limited first print run as a hardcover original only. The First Edition is now scarce. Presents Elaine Showalter's "Inventing Herself: Claiming A Feminist Intellectual Heritage". Herself defined. So engagingly and absorbingly written, free of intellectual jargon and critical theory baggage, it actually reads like a great story, which, in fact, it is. Choosing from her very personal pantheon of heroines, Elaine Showalter illuminates the lives of American and English female intellectual notables from the 18th century to the present and demonstrates the timeless division in the female psyche between the need for independence and the need for love. She begins with Wollstonecraft, author of "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman", the first appeal for political, emotional, and sexual liberation. Wollstonecraft's own life anticipated all the contradictions between theory and practice that would challenge women, as she extolled reason and independence over passion, then became suicidal over the abandonment by her unworthy lover. Showalter doesn't limit herself to traditional feminist icons. Her book also explores the lives of Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, and Hannah Arendt, who were all critical of orthodox feminism, and more recent feminist critics such as Katie Roiphe and Camille Paglia (with an emphasis on the latter's egomania). She discusses the well-known enmity between Simone de Beauvoir and Mary McCarthy as well as their similarities. As she moves into the 21st century, the effort to combine independence, adventure, and love is embodied in Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, and Princess Diana, who was killed exactly 200 years after Wollstonecraft died in childbirth. Wittingly or unwittingly, it would appear that Showalter gives fodder to the conventional wisdom that a woman's worst enemy is another woman. But that would miss her point, which is that each woman has to become her own kind of feminist, her own inimitable creation. The story of the bitter and lasting enmity between Susan Sontag and Camille Paglia, a story of Paglia's pathetic quest for approval from Sontag and once denied, her relentless vindictiveness, is "alone worth the price of entry" (Joyce Carol Oates). An absolute "must-have" title for Elaine Showalter collectors. This title is now collectible. This is one of few copies of the First Hardcover Edition/First Printing still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. Please note: Copies available online have serious flaws, are subsequent printings, or are remainder-marked. This is surely an accessible and lovely alternative. A scarce copy thus. One of the most brilliant literary historian/commentators of our time. A fine copy. . ISBN 0684822636. $20.00

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