In celebration of International Women’s Day on 8th March, the women workers of Verso and New Left Review share some of our favourite feminist books in tribute to the radical roots of the observance.
- Jo Spence/Rosy Martin, Mother as Factory Worker, 1984-88
The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante, translated by Ann Goldstein (Europa Editions, 2015); My Brilliant Friend (2012); The Story of a New Name (2013); Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (2014).
Several of us in the Verso team received our diagnosis this summer from a certified medical doctor who scrutinized our exhausted faces, distracted eyes and dramatic swings of emotion: “I’m sorry. You have come down with a severe case of Ferrante fever. The worst will pass but the hunger will never fade.” This fever of addiction stole sleep, stoked obsession and caused dangerous and foolish behaviour, such as crossing the road whilst reading—but it also brought new and old friends together in a happy haze of intoxication. Thus, here are some snippets from my brilliant friends that illustrate our year of reading Ferrante:
"In short, Freudian theory, regroomed for its new function of ‘social adjustment’, was used to wipe up the feminist revolt. Patching up with band-aids the casualties of the aborted feminist revolution, it succeeded in quieting the immense social unrest and role confusion that followed in the wake of the first attack on the rigid patriarchal family.
"Freudianism gained the ground that feminism lost: it flourished at the expense of feminism, to the extent that it acted as a container of its shattering force."
This edited extract from Shulamith Firestone's classic The Dialectic of Sex explores how approaches to mental health are always structured by relations of power. Firestone argues that feminism's absorption into institutionalised neo-Freudian cod-psychology deflected its initial assault on patriarchy—and that only political organization and struggle is capable of breaking through women's oppression.
This article is part of a series for World Mental Health Day 2015.
"I believe that there are as many gender identities as there are people; all unique, all constantly being explored in conscious and unconscious ways."
Trans is a moving memoir and insightful examination of transgender politics, telling the story of acclaimed journalist Juliet Jacques's story to the present day, including her sex reassignment surgery that she chronicled with unflinching honesty in 'A transgender journey', her serialised Guardian column.
To celebrate the forthcoming publication of Trans: A Memoir by Juliet Jacques in September, we are running a summer competition to give the chance for five lucky people to win:
- Advanced galley copy of Trans, waaaaay ahead of publication in September! Read it first!
- A copy of Melissa Gira Grant's Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex.
- A glossy poster with a diagram from Shulamith Firestone's Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution.
- One Verso tote bag with a brand-new #demandthefuture design!
No matter which body of water you'll be sluicing your speedos in this summer, Verso's got your back. From forty proud years of radical publishing, we've cherry-picked an eclectic mix of fiction, travel, politics, philosophy, feminism, art, graphic novels and more for your delectation this summer.
Whether you're reacquainting yourself with an old classic or taking a chance with one of our latest titles, all books on this list will be 50% off on our website for this week (July 9-July 17), with free worldwide shipping, and free ebook where available. Just be careful around the pool with your e-reader eh?
A lovely picture of Theodor Adorno in his swimwear, with a copy Narcoland presumably tucked away out of shot.