A blazingly insightful, provocative study of violence against women from the peerless feminist critic.
Why has violence, and especially violence against women, become so much more prominent and visible across the world? To explore this question, Jacqueline Rose tracks the multiple forms of today’s violence – historic and intimate, public and private – as they spread throughout our social fabric, offering a new, provocative account of violence in our time.
From trans rights and #MeToo to the sexual harassment of migrant women, from the trial of Oscar Pistorius to domestic violence in lockdown, from the writing of Roxanne Gay to Hisham Mitar and Han Kang, she casts her net wide. What obscene pleasure in violence do so many male leaders of the Western world unleash in their supporters? Is violence always gendered and if so, always in the same way? What is required of the human mind when it grants itself permission to do violence?
On Violence and On Violence Against Women is a timely and urgent agitation against injustice, a challenge to radical feminism and a meaningful call to action.
Jacqueline Rose is one of the world’s leading feminist literary and cultural critics. She is codirector of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, cofounder of Independent Jewish Voices, and a fellow of the Britsh Academy. Rose is a frequent contributor to the London Review of Books and The Guardian, among many other publications. She is the celebrated author of Sexuality in the Field of Vision, The Haunting of Sylvia Plath, Women in Dark Times, and Mothers.
"For all that Rose reveals, her book might be most intriguing in its strictures and refusals . . . She shies away from cheap pathos and struggles to avoid turning victims into figures of timeless suffering . . . For all her attraction to unruliness, Rose’s own sentences are cool, almost enameled in their polish and control."
—Parul Sehgal, The New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice)
"[Rose's] work remains surprising and original . . . The more I read her, the more I see the world through her questions . . . Her prose has the feel of spiraling in many directions; it is invigoratingly alive . . . Her real power, what makes her necessary as well as unique, may be how she teaches readers to ask probing questions on their own."
—Christine Smallwood, NYRB
"No stone goes unturned in Rose’s exhaustive inquiry into the enduring global crisis of sexual violence. Drawing on data and contemporary examples, while also braiding in the work of feminist philosophers like Judith Butler and Hannah Arendt, Rose builds a compellingly argued theory that sexual violence is rooted in male fragility. Rose’s framework examines how systemic power structures reinforce themselves, and how sexual violence intersects with gender, sexuality, race, and class."
—Esquire (Best Books of Spring)
"Esteemed feminist critic Rose tackles the broadest of subjects in her inimitable and thoroughly researched fashion in this latest title . . . In truth, any one of the topics Rose raises here could easily be expanded to create its own book. In-depth, complex, revelatory, and nearly overwhelming, this is an important, foundational account deserving of readers' full attention."
"Rose, a lecturer in history at the University of St. Andrews, probes the causes, meaning, and persistence of sexual violence in this thought-provoking essay collection . . . A precise and original exploration of an essential subject."