The Creation of Feminist Consciousness: From the Middle Ages to Eighteen-seventy

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 1993 - Social Science - 395 pages
4 Reviews
A pioneer in women's studies and long-term activist for women's issues, and a past president of the Organization of American Historians, Gerda Lerner is one of the founders and foremost scholars of Women's History. The Creation of Patriarchy, the first book in her two-volume magnum opus Women and History (1986) received wide review attention and much acclaim, winning the prestigious Joan Kelly Prize of the American Historical Association for the best work on Women's History that year. Ms hailed the book for providing "a grand historical framework that was impossible even to imagine before the enlightenment about women's place in the world provided by her earlier work and that of other feminist scholars." New Directions for Women said it "may well be the most important work in feminist theory to appear in our generation."
Patriarchy traced the development of the ideas, symbols, and metaphors by which men institutionalized their domination of women. Now, in The Creation of Feminist Consciousness, the eagerly awaited concluding volume of Women and History, Lerner documents the twelve-hundred-year struggle of women to free their minds from patriarchal thought, to create Women's History, and to achieve a feminist consciousness. In a richly documented narrative filled with inspiring portraits of women, Lerner ranges from the Middle Ages to the late 19th century, tracing several important ways by which women strove for autonomy and equality. One of the most remarkable sections examines over twelve hundred years of feminist Bible criticism. Since objections to women's thinking, teaching, and speaking in public were based on biblical authority--most notably, passages from Genesis and the writings of St. Paul--women returned again and again to these texts, in an attempt to subvert patriarchal dominance and establish their equality with men. This survey of biblical criticism allows Lerner to illustrate her most important insight--the discontinuity of women's history. She describes how women's history was not passed on from generation to generation, forcing women in effect to reinvent the wheel over and over again. In a series of fascinating portraits of individual women who resisted patriarchal indoctrination, Lerner discusses women mystics such as Hildegard of Bingen, Julian of Norwich and later Protestant mystics, and brings to life the many women of great literary talent, from Christine de Pisan to Louise Labe to Emily Dickinson, who simply bypassed patriarchal thought and created alternate worlds for themselves.
Documenting the 1,200 year struggle of women to free their minds from patriarchal thought, create a women's history, and achieve a feminist consciousness, this brilliant work charts new ground for feminist theory, the history of ideas, and the development of women's place in our intellectual tradition.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Back in the day, even though brilliant academic women had much to say, they still had to say it in within the confines of the stiff academic fashion of the time. So even though I am learning a lot, it is hard work to sift through the crouched, guarded patriarchal formalities with the language.
Still, gems are everywhere and I consider this book well worth the effort. I assign myself 4-5 pages a day and am always well-rewarded. I have learned so much about the oppression of women and the courageous crawl out.
Eleanor Cowan, author of : A History of a Pedophile's Wife
 

Review: The Creation of Feminist Consciousness: From the Middle Ages to Eighteen-Seventy

User Review  - Adam - Goodreads

Even though I finished, I know I'll be paging through it again as reference. Specifically the chapter the highlights criticisms regarding the biblical patriarchy. Read full review

Contents

ONE Introduction
3
TWO The Educational Disadvantages of Women
21
THREE Selfauthorization
46
FOUR The Way of the Mystics1
65
FIVE The Way of the Mystics2
88
six Authorization Through Motherhood
116
SEVEN One Thousand Years of Feminist Bible Criticism
138
EIGHT Authorization Through Creativity
167
NINE The Right to Learn the Right to Teach
192
NOTES
284
BIBLIOGRAPHY
331
INDEX
377
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1993)


Gerda Lerner is Robinson-Edwards Professor of History, Emerita, at the University of Wisconsin--Madison, and the author of 8 books in women's history.

Bibliographic information