By Nancy K. Miller
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Extra info for But Enough About Me
There was literary theory (what the good people did), and there was feminism (Kate Millett, English departments). After all, I used to argue, both are modes of critique: the one of modes of criticism blind to their own assumptions about literature and art; the other of the ideology that regulates the relations between men and women in culture and society. It’s hard to see now, but in the early seventies structuralism, as it was understood in American universities, like feminism seemed to mean a break with a reactionary past: the men’s club model of lit crit.
Or that through the elaborate veils of my narratological tables she could tell I really cared. About what? About the logic of “female plot” that killed off heroines—exquisite cadavers as I called them in my first article—at the story’s close? What I really cared about then, I think, had as much to do with my own fate as with the fictional destiny of women in the eighteenth-century novel. At stake, if buried, in the ponderous prose of my structuralist feminism was the story of my plot: my own “coming to writing”—“as a woman”—to invoke the language of a feminist literary criticism that was to flower after the mid-seventies.
I cannot remember. Di Prima attributes finding Keats—her inspiration for her ideas about poetry, about becoming a poet—in her class. “I came to Keats by way of Somerset Maugham, ‘hack novelist’ as Miriam Burstein called him in an English class. ” (). Would anyone confess to Marjorie Morningstar? Such were the lessons of Hunter— what do you think of my memoir? what to eschew, hack novels by hack novelists, along with New York accents (dentalization, glottal stops) and bad posture. Even as a freshman at Barnard, I had problems with literary taste.