Apartment in Athens (New York Review Books Classics) by Glenway Wescott, David Leavitt

By Glenway Wescott, David Leavitt

Like Wescott's awesome novella The Pilgrim Hawk (which Susan Sontag defined in The New Yorker as belonging "among the treasures of 20th-century American literature"), Apartment in Athens matters an strange triangular courting. during this tale approximately a Greek couple in Nazi-occupied Athens who needs to proportion their residing quarters with a German officer, Wescott levels an excessive and unsettling drama of lodging and rejection, resistance and compulsion—an account of political oppression and religious fight that also is a parable in regards to the bills of closeted identity.

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Apartment in Athens (New York Review Books Classics)

Like Wescott's notable novella The Pilgrim Hawk (which Susan Sontag defined within the New Yorker as belonging "among the treasures of 20th-century American literature"), condominium in Athens matters an strange triangular dating. during this tale approximately a Greek couple in Nazi-occupied Athens who needs to percentage their residing quarters with a German officer, Wescott levels an severe and unsettling drama of lodging and rejection, resistance and compulsion—an account of political oppression and religious fight that also is a parable concerning the expenditures of closeted identity.

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Sample text

From this angle, the critique of women who make and use cosmetics which employ mercury seems contingent on their transgression into a realm of knowledge reserved for educated men, as much as on anxiety about mercury itself. Mercury is construed as a special ingredient that should be only in the hands of authoritative users, whose possession signals their intellectual prestige. 74 More often, however, mercury is represented as an arcane substance, simply dangerous to those who use it without learning.

Although we might assume that cosmetics were female knowledge, they are often more of a hybrid form and, as such, sure to incite anxiety. 92 There is a similar taint of effeminization surrounding experimental natural philosophy. 93 Far from signalling women’s ignorance, the use of chemical ingredients alongside herbal ones in the practice of beautifying physic illustrates a form of experimental and intellectual authority and a challenge to attempts by scientists and physicians to delineate exclusionary, gendered categories of knowledge.

87 It is not that mercury is dangerous and should not be used – as we might think – but that surgeons and physicians may use mercury in their practice while women cannot. The purgative effect of mercury in beautifying physic is the same as in other cures, but women are presumed to be ever unwitting users. Women cannot be practising physic when they use mercury because women are not capable of the category of knowledge to which it belongs. 88 Hartman’s comment is derogatory – again, women can only be pretenders to knowledge – but it does seem to imply that women may have found a certain pleasure specifically in mercurial products because their use demonstrated authority in a realm of sophisticated, scientific knowledge that was made accessible to them through beautifying physic.

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