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Book reviews for "Daly,_Mary" sorted by average review score:

Pure Lust: Elemental Feminist Philosophy
Published in Paperback by Trafalgar Square (February, 1998)
Author: Mary Daly
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A-mazing!!! And definitely not A-musing....
A thought provoking, fun, enlightening, frightening, epic work that is not for the feint at heart. Ms. Daly is poetic, hectic, a wonderful Webster indeed. If you are white and male, be prepared but try not to put up too many defenses--read and try to understand what 4000+ years of oppression has wrought. If you are female and you don't read this work, you have done a diservice to yourself, your mothers, your daughters, and all of humankind. Ms. Daly has shaken my slumber and kicked my rear and said the work is not yet done.

"Man"datory reading for students of all ages...
This book opens doors to discussion with it's flowing prose and evocative stance. Shake 'em up Mary! Pure Lust is skillfully wrought and well worth the time to track down out of print copies! (Yes! They are out there! You may want to order two copies as you will surely have one copy out on the rounds on permanent loan.) My lovely edition was the only item stolen from a women's locker room- best wishes to she who has it now- please pass it on... Enjoy!

superb and threatening to males
I really love this book, and I really love Mary Daly. Who else could expose the white male agenda of hatred with greater aplomb while focusing exclusively on Women! This is a treat, both intellectually and emotionally. Mary Daly is a genius.

Mary Malloy and the Baby Who Wouldn't Sleep
Published in Hardcover by Artist & Writers Guild Books (June, 1993)
Author: Niki Daly
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Mary Malloy and the baby who wouldn't sleep
This is a lovely children's book. It's beautifully illustrated and it reads like a childhood dream. My 2 year old adores it, and I have gone to the trouble of buying it for her despite the fact that it's out of print. It's about a little baby who wouldn't sleep, and the moon takes it so that she can rock it to sleep. Lovely!

Anglo-American Feminist Challenges to the Rhetorical Traditions: Virginia Woolf, Mary Daly, and Adrienne Rich
Published in Hardcover by Southern Illinois Univ Pr (Trd) (August, 1995)
Author: Krista Ratcliffe
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Superb criticism.
This important study is highly astute in its analysis--and very accessible. Ratcliffe is a first-rate thinker and writer.

A wonderful book
Three great geniuses are presented here. Where would we be without the unbelievably courageous Mary Daly? And Virginia Woolf is still an important early voice, especially as presented by Jane Marcus and other brilliant radicals. As for Rich, is there a more brilliant writer in "America" today? I think not.

This book dares to include three of the very greatest writers of the century. Mary Daly is the incredibly courageous voice of contemporary radical feminism, Woolf is still valuable for her essays, and Adrienne Rich is a truly visionary poet who has changed the way contemporary discourse is conducted. A wonderful book.

Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World (The Fred W. Morrison Series in Southern Studies)
Published in Paperback by Univ of North Carolina Pr (August, 2000)
Authors: Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, James Leloudis, Robert Korstad, Mary Murphy, Lu Ann Jones, Christopher B. Daly, and Michael Frisch
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Oral History at Its Best
Jacquelyn Dowd Hall and the other writers of _Like a Family_ created a tour-de-force study of cotton mill towns in the American South. It is a very rare book that captures such a clear, complex sense of history; Hall balances a careful sense of detail with a sweeping picture of life in the cotton-mill South by using a combination of oral and written sources. This book is perfect for scholars and non-scholars alike, and richly conjures a full picture of this period in American history.

Captures a lost era
Like a Family interestingly and accurately portrays life in southern cotton mills and mill towns in the central southeast, primarily North Carolina. The book examines family, work and community life; it is a social, cultural and political history. Working in the mills was harsh, dangerous and monotonous. Most employees left farms and a rural way of life to toil in the mills; for these people living under the constant eye of mill management was humiliating at times. The mills controlled not only the worker's jobs, but their housing, churches, schools, entertainment and shopping through company stores. It is important to note that this book does not leave out women's perspectives, as many mill workers were young women and working mothers.

A great deal of the content of this book was provided by interviews done in the 1980's of people who worked in the mills and lived in mill communities. This oral history is both fascinating and priceless. Most of the mills have closed and the memory and history of them is becoming scarcer to find as most of the mill workers who lived during the era portrayed in this book have died.

While most of the mills have closed, central North Carolina is dotted with the communities that are remains of old mill towns. I am from this region and my mother lives in Bynum, NC, a mill town dating from the mid-19th century. Several of her neighbors were interviewed for and written about in Like a Family. The old company store still serves as a post office and the mill community's church has regular worshipers. Unfortunately the rest of the community from the mill days, including the mill itself (which closed in the early 1980's and has burned down recently), have succumbed to time and aging from the elements.

Mary Barton
Published in Hardcover by Edinburgh Univ Press (15 March, 1998)
Authors: Macdonald Daly, Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, and Angus Easson
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A romantic view about Manchester life in the 19th century!
Mary Barton is the first novel of Elizabeth Gaskell, a female writer who left her influence upon other English writers of the 19th century, like, for instance, Charles Dickens. The book is only an average view about Manchester life in the 19th century, focusing its attentions over the extreme poverty of the working class, the first labor conflicts in the pre-dawn of the Industrial Revolution, all this connected with a tender love story between the young Mary Barton and his old time friend Jem Wilson.
In fact, the murder of the young mill owner, Mr. Henry Carson - he too an admirer of Miss Barton - is not well developed and is not the central point of the novel because the reader knows all the time who is the real murderer. So, it's not a surprise at all the ending of the trial and the revelation of the real murderer in the last chapters.
Miss Gaskell has a simple and an almost näive vision of the social problems that harassed the working class in England when the Industrial Revolution started. Even though, we must recognize that she made a good work trying to denounce the insensibility of the English government about the problems of the workers and their families and the inflexibility of the mill owners and other high economic classes to negociate with their subordinates.
Mary Barton is a book that will hold the attencion of the readers, men or women, because Miss Gaskell has an elegant style and really knows how to tell a good story. Another great vintage of this novel are some great characters portrayed with flavour and undeniable charm, like the old and friendly Mr. Job Legh and the hard and anger John Barton, Mary's father.

Compelling description of industrial revolution era want.
Gaskell wrote one of the most vivid descriptions of the gap between rich and poor in this novel of the Manchester 'hungry forties'. The plot is driven by the device of a murder of young factory owner's son, but this story line is more an excuse to present the story as a novel (and to serve the demands and expectations of the novel form as it was understood at the time) than it really is the center of the book. The romance and the mystery (although still well-written) are cursory in comparison to the loving detail that Gaskell lavishes on Alice Wilson, the temptation of Esther and all the little points of life in deep poverty.

Worth reading, particularly if you're a fan of the novel (or history) of the period.

A Truthful Depiction of the 19th Century Working Class Life
Actually I read this book in three days' time (it can be even faster if I don't have to go to school). Anyway, Mrs. Gaskell's depiction of the working class people in Manchester during the 19th century was so vivid that you can just *see* and *feel* how the rich and the poor's lives were like back then by turning the pages. I believe no one who had read this book will not to some extent feel pity for the tragic hero, John Barton, in the story. But aside from this formal social theme being presented in the novel, there is also a very strong sense of religious/moral theme in it (espeically near the end of the story), as well as some drama and romance in it. Definitely worth a read, especially to those who are interested in Victorian Literature.

Gyn/Ecology : The Metaethics of Radical Feminism
Published in Paperback by Beacon Press (December, 1990)
Author: Mary Daly
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This is probably the most accessible book Mary Daly has written in the 30+ years she has been exploring & indicting patriarchal institutions & "morals". Unlike "Pure Lust", which was difficult to understand w/o a background in philosophy & theology, "Gyn/Ecology" explores the methods that have been used to keep women bound, showing a relationship btwn such seemingly disparate phenomena as Nazism & gynecology, witch-burnings & Chinese footbinding. The historical facts are well-researched & supported thru direct quotations from men who have perpetrated & defended the torture & killing of women in the name of "culture". Daly strongly refutes the argument that one society cannot judge the practices of another, proclaiming that the lives of women take precedence over such constructs as culture. This book touched me, angered me, inspired me...

Naming the violence.
Goddess, I love this book! Hateful? Racist? I think not. Angry? Unladylike? Absolutely! Mary Daly begins by challenging language which keeps us oppressed as women. It was the work of women that gave a name to the experiences so many of us share, but could not speak at one time: rape, battering, incest. There were no words, once, for what was considered, "a woman's lot in life." These things still happen, but at least now they can be spoken, at least now they can be challenged, at least now there may be hope. The title 'Gyn/Ecology,' according to the Introduction, is a way of wrenching back some wordpower. It is men, after all, who up until now have always had the power of naming, often naming something the opposite of what it really is (i.e. Military Intelligence, Peacekeeper, sanitary napkin). This book is primarily concerned with the mind/spirit/body pollution inflicted through patriarchal myth and language on all levels.

The fact that most gynecologists are males, says Daly, is in itself a collosal comment on our society. It is a symptom and example of male control over women and over language, and a clue to the extent of this control. Add to this the fact that self-appointed soul doctors, mind doctors, and body doctors who "specialize" in women are perpetrators of iatrogenic disease (the first time I had ever heard of such a thing, and have since come to specialize in its research).

"The courage to be logical -- the courage to name -- would require that we admit to ourselves that males and males only are the originators, planners, controllers, and legitimators of patriarchy. Patriarchy is the homeland of males; it is Father Land; and men are its agents. It is in the interest of men (as men in patriarchy perceive their interest) and in a superficial but Self-destructive way, of many women, to hide this fact, especially from themselves."

How anyone can call Dr. Daly racist for dis-covering the historical roots of American Gynecology balanced on the backs of experimentation on black female slaves by J. Marion Sims, "moving spirit" behind the founding of the Women's Hospital in New York, is beyond me.

Dr. Daly weaves her understanding of our oppression as women within and around her understanding of Chinese footbinding, Indian Suttee, clitoridectomy, and the witchburnings in the Middle Ages. Violence against women continues to be endemic, systemic, entrenched in our society, and its roots grow deep. Dr. Daly dis-covers and names those roots, and for many, this is a painful exercise that requires the work of thinking, something that is more and more dis-couraged in a society that prefers to do your thinking for you.

From the back cover: "Mary Daly is a Revolting Hag who holds doctorates in theology and philosophy from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. An associate professor of theology at Boston College, this Spinster spins and weaves cosmic tapestries in her own time/space. She is the author of 'Beyond God the Father' and 'The Church and the Second Sex.'"

Dr. Daly is intelligent, a delight to read, and has earned her stripes. Her willingness to speak truth to power has cost her dearly, and has earned my respect. The violence she is not afraid to name threatens the very existence of life on this planet. If you want to be part of making a difference, read this book.

The radical feminist manifesto
As a man who has met and spoken at length to Mary Daly, I can definitively say that she does not hate men (as this seems to be the topic of discussion in these reviews). Her anger in this book is valid and purposeful. The anger is present to energize people for change. The statement that this book is racist seems incredible to me. The cultural realativist "trump card" of tradition cannot be extended to practices that directly harm people. Condemming genital mutilation and footbinding on the same grounds as the American medical establisment (the grounds that they cripple, kill and disable women) seems less racist than assuming these practices are "primitive" and thereby sacred. Daly is not an imperialist, she speaks for the unification of women (and those men willing) across all superficial borders to break the bonds of patriarchy. This is an angry book, but is enjoyable and, at times astounding, nonetheless. Daly is disgusted by the patriarchal world that has been created by men and with the complicity of women, but you should be too. Things don't seem so bad here in the US (if you are happy with $.75 to the dollar), but the picture overseas is entirely different. Across all cultures (yes even our own) rape and spousal abuse are incredibly prevelant, affecting up to 85% of women in some countries. Feminism is as needed now as it ever was, and the assumption that it only applies to "developed" cultures allows governments to block and qualify international legislation such as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women. This book is a direct challenge to this cultural realativism.

Beyond God the Father : Toward a Philosophy of Women's Liberation
Published in Paperback by Beacon Press (June, 1993)
Author: Mary Daly
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Mary Daly is published for exactly the same reason that Hustler is published - there is a sizeable market of stupids who simply like reading trash.

Useful, up to a VERY limited point
As a seminary trained theologian I can appreciate the value of reading Daly's book. In its day 'Beyond God the Father' inspired many religious folks to critically engage several of the accepted tenents of Christian theology. But this positive contribution notwithstanding I am afraid the book is finally little more than a self-righteous and self-indulgent tirade. Indeed, rather than engaging in some critical (and historical) thinking of her own -- grappling with fact that many women have been able to buttress their liberation struggles through their Christian faith, Daly assumes that hers is only authentic feminist perspective. This makes for an ultimately tiresome and intellectually unsatisfying read. I wouldn't encourage anyone to avoid this book altogether, but there is certainly more important and creative feminist theology out there.

Mary Daly is Out of This World!
It's amazing to me just how many readers don't get Mary Daly! That someone compared her to Hustler Magazine is too funny! Oh, I bet Professor Daly would love that! For those of you who didn't know, Daly has several doctorates (in philosophy and theology) from Fribourg University in Switzerland; she has published many phenomenal, intellectually stimulating, truly groundbreaking books; she's an amazing linguist with a dictionary of terms all her own; and she was a tenured professor at Boston College for many years. That the average reader from Philly hasn't a clue what she's saying is hardly surprising. Daly is a philosopher, a theologian, a scholar, writing for an intellectual feminist audience. Her ideas are not more of the usual male-defined babble, (which is why some readers may get "kicked out of school" for citing her as a reference) but rather radical, eye-opening, amazing challenges to the status quo. Of course, she's not for everyone (truly their loss). However, I've found her philosophy and her books to be quite enlightening, and I am most grateful for and encouraged by all that I have learned from her. Yes, Mary Daly is out of this world! (And with the Bush Administration at the helm, that's probably about the best place to be!)

Quintessence ...: Realizing the Archaic Future
Published in Paperback by The Women's Press (26 August, 1999)
Authors: Mary Daly and Sudie Rakusin
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"Purity and strength"
Nobody, especially not its fans, would deny that the neo-Nazi fantasy _The Turner Diaries_ is hate literature. There's even a moment where the author fantasises my extermination: he describes the body of a white intellectual who rejected notions of racial solidarity, swinging from a rope attached to a streetlight. That's me and my kind, right there.

Funnily enough, I also get exterminated in Mary Daly's _Quintessence_. So do all my women friends, though they even use the "feminist" word despite the damage done to that word's reputation by Daly, Dworkin and others.

Why extermination? Because, it seems, we are "snools", in Daly's bizarre jargon, because we reserve the right to criticise ideas that don't make sense, "phallocrats" because we support democracy instead of Daly's "gynocracy", "necrophiles" because we think science and technology are on the whole good things, without being uncritical about their use. My women friends' feminism is different from Daly's, so they are "totalled women" and "fembots".

Note how many of Daly's "dis/covered words" express hatred, from "snool" to "snot boy". And Daly's writing is shockingly bad, a mix of cutesie neologisms - "crone-logical", "be-witching" etc - in praise of an elect of lesbian separatists, along with name-calling abuse of her enemies, almost the entire "man-infested" human species. As Daly's outcasts, we probably wouldn't want to live in the mindless and passionless utopia Daly prescribes and describes in _Quintessence_, but that's okay, because Daly wants us dead.

In the following quote, a sample from _Quintessence'_s holocaust fantasy, Daly's narrator, "I", is "Anonyma", a Mary Daly fan from 50 years in the future, who has brought Daly forward in time to survey the world her books brought about:

" "Are there men and boys on the other continents?" [Mary] asked.

"Yes," I said. "But ... the world today is Gynocratic and Gynocentric. ... The Earth's transformation has required that her inhabitants grow through profound psychic changes. Those who were not able to grow could not endure in the purity and strength of the New energy field..."

"Are you saying that men who insisted on clinging to patriarchal beliefs and behaviors became obsolete and 'died off'?" asked Mary.

"Yes, they rapidly became extinct," I said.

"And what became of the patriarchally assimilated women who identified with the roles and rules of patriarchy?" asked Mary.

I answered, "Those women who refused to release themselves from the phallocratic dependencies and habits that had been embedded in them under the old system were in effect refusing to evolve. So they also could not survive in the New energy field." " [End quote.]

So only a few male survivors, and since "patriarchal beliefs and behaviours" turn out to include heterosexuality, interest in science, rationality and various other thought-crimes and desire-crimes, that's most women dead too. So much death, without the slightest tinge of regret in Daly's prose: who's the necrophile?

Daly says our extermination occurs in the next 50 years, so it is not caused by our failure to reproduce while Daly's parthenogenic lesbians flourish and thrive: that unlikely development would take many, many generations. To "extinguish" us all in 50 years means killing the living. The instrument of our execution is Daly's "New energy field", which is fatal to those of us who lack, in Daly's strikingly Hitlerian turn of phrase, "purity and strength".

Impure and weak people may find it interesting, then, that Daly really is interested in "New energy fields". In the November 2001 issue of _Philosophy Today_ she waxed enthusiastic about Rupert Sheldrake's morpho-genetic or morphic field. Given _Quintessence-_'s fantasy of extinction by energy field, it's perhaps reassuring that Sheldrake's field has the scientific credibility of Reich's orgone accumulators (ie "none"). But what can we make of a political work that celebrates the imagined extermination of all who are not pure and strong? What do we make of its author? Is Daly merely a joke, an embarrassment to her own cause and a gift to the right-wing media that drags out cases like Daly and Dworkin whenever they want to make feminism look ridiculous? Or should she be held responsible when what she writes is hate literature as much as _The Turner Diaries_ and other neo-Nazi tracts? Or do we make liberal excuses: "this is a damaged person, who cannot be held morally accountable when she strikes out ineffectually at those around her"?

It's a serious question about responsibilities, and I don't know the answer. On the whole, though I know Daly would dislike this option most, I favour the liberal option. Daly causes more damage to her own causes than to anything else. That was a pity when the implosion of Daly's own credibility took out a fair chunk of feminism's credibility with her, though the excesses of her most dogmatic followers were also to blame for that. Daly is a key part of the reason why the most powerful political movement of the 1970s had become politically inert and ineffectual by the 1990s, as it still is, and that was a disservice to us all except for feminism's enemies. But these days her advocacy damages only the fringe to which she is still attached.

Still, Daly believes in naming her enemies, and perhaps it would show respect to name her philosophy too, though it's not necessary to in/vent a (child)ish jar-gone, a/kin to Daly's own, to find the name. _Quntessence_'s lesbian separatist utopia, where superior people reproduce themselves by parthenogenesis without risking their moral or genetic purity by sexual contact with inferior beings, where there are no divergent ideas or dissent, where most of the inferior beings (men and women who like men) have been exterminated, except for a few tame specimens "on other continents", is not a variant of feminism. It's a variant of fascism. We can laugh or apologise or condemn, but let's call it what it is.



Permanent PMS
The one star is for the laughs this book provoked.
Seriously, though, this book is evidence of the depths to which intellectual life has sunk lately. Childish narratives of the Tolkien variety are now celebrated as grand philosophy! Also, it's sad that Ms. Daly has become so consumed by hatred.

take what you want, leave the rest
Daly's work has inspired me and helped me to wake up. I'm technically a GenX - meaning I need this kind of gutsy, womanly writing. Take what you will from it. Its shock value is well worth it. I recommend starting with GynEcology for a clearer understanding of Daly's project and personal metamorphosis. It's tough to come to this book cold. I'm open to an array of feminist visions... but this one really resonates. Thanks Mary.

Websters' First New Intergalactic Wickedary of the English Language
Published in Paperback by Womens Pr Ltd (December, 1999)
Authors: Mary Daly and Jane Caputi
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Entertaining...but just barely
In a word, infantile. While Mary Daly certainly has all the rhetorical flair with which her disciples credit her, this gift of the gab is too often used to justify an essentially close-minded viciousness which leaves any attempt at actually useful philosophy in the dust. It's strange that Daly so consistently castigates the rhetorical abuses of the patriarchy (which are, I absolutely agree, often horrifying) while failing to perform any better in this, her answer to male-determined language. Worse, while she claims to represent all *true* feminists, her argument for this claim is to simply recategorize any feminist who dares to disagree with her as a 'fembot', a brainless casualty of patriarchy. She appears either unable to get over the very paradigms of violent hierarchy which she claims to oppose, or else is somehow under the gross missapprehension that a cycle of violence is somehow to be prefferred to actual progress for feminism or society at large. D+.

2/3 good, 1/3 bad
While I realize that this book is intended to be a humorous look at the English language, it still doesn't excuse the mean-spirited male-bashing in which Daly engages.

The first two-thirds of the book were indeed fun (hence the extra ratings star). Any attempt to experiment and play with words is great; and trying to bolster women's courage and laughingly shove them into redefining themselves on their own terms--all the better!

But why trash men? Daly's definition of heterosexual relationships as being instigated only by men towards women is not only incorrect but insulting. One could almost accuse Daly of being heterophobic, and isn't bigotry supposed to be wrong? I guess all those loving, ethical, funny, and caring fathers/sons/brothers/friends are just figments of a sadly benighted race of "fembots" and "totalled women".

Deliciously Wicked
Mary Daly does it again! She manages to skewer dead and dying institutions in remarkably few words. For example: "bubble n: an artificial total environment which distances, destroys and replaces the physical/spiritual Elemental world; an Eye-sore/I-sore. Examples: disneyworld; the bible." Lest you think this is all negative, delight in "Be-Witching: leaping/hopping/flying inspired by Lust for Metamorphosis...the exercise of Labrys-like powers." Nice pictures, too. A must-have for the Feminist who needs a chuckle or a good quote from time to time. Definitely a keeper!

Feminist Interpretations of Mary Daly (Re-Reading the Canon)
Published in Hardcover by Pennsylvania State Univ Pr (Txt) (August, 2000)
Authors: Sarah Lucia Hoagland and Marilyn Frye
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People are always condemning the Dalyites for their "separatism," but my feeling is that they couldn't be separate enough. Well, maybe on Neptune. The far side.

Why We Need to Re-Read Mary Daly
Sarah Hoagland and Marilyn Frye's new anthology, Feminist Interpretations of Mary Daly is a self-proclaimed "open-ended journey" into Daly's philosophy and the very patriarchal canon she resists. Like some of the earlier Re-reading the Canon volumes, which situate women thinkers into a canon crafted to exclude them, this volume (with purposeful irony) places Daly "into the very canon which she herself has argued is a branch of patriarchal religion grounded in the dismemberment of the Goddess, and which her work is dedicated to undermining by means of animating women's possibilities."(2) In the same breath this collection places Daly in a rapidly emerging feminist canon that continues to distance itself from the radical feminism of the 1960s-70s. Viewing Radical Feminism as framework in progress, and not as an eight year experiment that ultimately failed, reveals uncharted territories and new possibilities for projects grounded in Daly's work. This collection takes the first steps into this newly imagined territory. Whether Daly's work changed/saved your life-- or, like me, you never read her closely because the word on the academic streets was that she had nothing serious to offer-this volume will forever change the way you think about one of the most prolific feminist writers of our time. For Daly scholars this anthology is filled with suggestions for new research projects. Daly skeptics will find unexpected interest in the daring and creative applications of her ideas to third wave feminist conversations. In any case, the collection brings together enough innovative re-readings of Daly's work to safely predict a renewed interest in her systematic philosophy, if not a renaissance in Daly scholarship. Dr. Alison Bailey Illinois State University

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