A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and the Mind

A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and the Mind

A compelling and radical collection of essays on art, feminism, neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy from prize-winning novelist Siri Hustvedt, the acclaimed author of The Blazing World and What I Loved.Siri Husvedt has always been fascinated by biology and how human perception works. She is a lover of art, the humanities, and the sciences. She is a novelist and a femi...

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Title:A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and the Mind
Author:Siri Hustvedt
Rating:
ISBN:1501141090
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:576 pages

A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and the Mind Reviews

  • Roland
    Sep 08, 2016

    Way off my territory but an exceptional read. I understood about two thirds of it. Fantastic and much food for thought.

  • Elyse
    Oct 11, 2016

    "A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and the Mind",

    was at times an unfathomable experience----but given that Siri's new book is about human life, it seems reasonable that while the reader is expanding knowledge- exploring thoughts- opening their heart & mind -that consciousness would get lost. It's simply a normal part of the awareness reading process.

    I spent almost a month reading this book....an intimate affair - a journey - a course of study....( call it what yo

    "A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and the Mind",

    was at times an unfathomable experience----but given that Siri's new book is about human life, it seems reasonable that while the reader is expanding knowledge- exploring thoughts- opening their heart & mind -that consciousness would get lost. It's simply a normal part of the awareness reading process.

    I spent almost a month reading this book....an intimate affair - a journey - a course of study....( call it what you want). I was passionate - and diligently committed to reading this book --gathering background information on Google on artists - and philosophers whom I wanted to know more about>>>inspired by Siri.

    Siri's vision of building a sturdy bridge supporting both the sciences and humanities is inspiring. Many of the essays draws on insights from both the sciences and humanities knowing that the disciplines are not necessarily the same. The physicist's, the biologist's, historian's, the philosopher's, and artist's modes of knowing are different. Siri talked about being wary any one discipline claiming absolutism.

    Mixed in with all the essays --I enjoyed the intimacy of Siri Hustvedt herself. I enjoyed reading about her studies as a young person and her growing development. I enjoyed when she shared about her mother and daughter at different times. I often felt an emotional connection to the entire inquiry & study of 'what is the mind' - 'the self' - or reading about an artist. Siri's writing pulled me in - ( like I said, the reading is challenging in parts), but most of it so damn interesting.... and Siri's personal touches made me smile, like braiding her daughters hair when her daughter was a young girl. Or learning more about her parents. Siri's incredible humbleness is beautiful and a gift to others - a gift to me anyway.

    For about an entire week - I kept thinking about the influence on human life from the results of scientific theories: computers, cell phones, electric lights etc., versus the influence from the arts on human life: Reading, history, philosophy, poetry, visual art, listening to music, dance, etc. which has made a bigger difference in my life? The arts or sciences - and is it even possible to choose?

    Siri engages us in rigorous thinking. "Why are the sciences regarded as hard and masculine and the arts and humanities soft and feminine?" Yes... things are changing - more women going into mathematics... but there is still that image.

    Much to learn & think about in this book.... gender biases, prejudices, the body mind problem, sociology, history, psychology, neurobiology, genetics, suicide, the human condition, etc. etc.

    Contributors from artists, scientists, and scholars in humanities fill these pages:

    Picasso, (I enjoyed thinking about my emotional response to his painting "The Weeping Woman"),

    DeKooning, ( Dutch American abstract expressionist artist),

    Jeff Koons, ( American artist known for his balloon animals),

    Louise Bourgeois, (French American sculpture......I LOVED reading about this woman- and even Siri's love for her was touching),

    Karl Ove Knausgaard, ( author) Siri wrote a great article about gender literature and Knausgaard writing like a woman.

    Susan Sontag, ( American Writer.... she wrote about AIDS, culture, media, and illness) Robert Mapplethorpe ( photographer)

    Max Beckmann, (a German artist)

    Alfred H. Barr ( Director at the Museum of modern Art in New York)

    I like this excerpt - it was early in this book - written Barr .....when he said German Art is "very different" from French and American art.

    "Most German artists are romantic, they seem to be less interested in form and style as ends in themselves and more in feeling, in emotional values and even in moral, religious, social, and philosophical considerations. German art is pure art... they frequently confuse art with life".

    Siri asks..... "what on earth does Barr mean by saying Germans confused art and life?"

    "How could art come from anything but art", Siri asks.

    From beginning to end we are thinking - questioning- and learning about so many great thinkers - artists-and scholars.

    ......art, femininity- masculine: the difference between men and women painters - political influence- sexual influence -and differences all areas of study.

    We look at nature vs. nurture.

    Siri taught writing at one point in her life to patients in a mental ward.... patients with some serious disorders. It was a volunteer job- she didn't get paid for it. When I read this section, I just kept trying to imagine what the hell she felt like at the end of the day? Satisfied ? Exhausted? Frustrated? Scared?

    She did tell us -- the reason she didn't quit is is 'saw' she was making a difference. The challenges she face daily I can hardly imagine.

    I've kinda fallen in love with Sire Husvedt through reading this book.

    When I read "The Blazing World", I LOVED it, .... but in this book, I feel closer in knowing Siri herself. A gift from the author.

    One little wish: A PHYSICAL Hard-COPY of this book. Some books just feel 'right' as a hardcopy! This is THAT type of book!!! I'll have to work on that wish later when the book is released this December.

    Thank You Simon and Schuster, and Siri Hustvedt

  • Joslyn Allen
    Dec 16, 2016

    Review published at

    This will be a shockingly short review for an immense book. Siri Hustvedt is a well-respected, much lauded writer. Her writing crosses genres, as do her passions and her expertise. In “A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women”, Hustvedt has compiled essays which marry her interests in science and art, essays “on art, feminism, neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy”.

    Now, I wear my nerd badge proudly, but Hustvedt’s writing in “A Woman

    Review published at

    This will be a shockingly short review for an immense book. Siri Hustvedt is a well-respected, much lauded writer. Her writing crosses genres, as do her passions and her expertise. In “A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women”, Hustvedt has compiled essays which marry her interests in science and art, essays “on art, feminism, neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy”.

    Now, I wear my nerd badge proudly, but Hustvedt’s writing in “A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women” felt academic and abstruse to the point of non-engagement and, often, non-comprehension. I struggled off and on for months to finish this book, appreciative of Hustvedt’s clear brilliance but never able to find flow or shake the feeling of slogging. The reviews and reactions to this work which I’ve encountered have been similar, in that readers comment that they understood less than half of what they read or felt it was above their heads. What I’ve struggled with is that in the same breath, so many readers have declared bafflement and yet sung the book’s praises. To me, if a book is inscrutable, perhaps it hasn’t accomplished its purpose. If writing, particularly in essay form, is meant to convey meaning and a message to the reader, then abstruse, impenetrable prose falls flat. I believe that Siri Hustvedt can write and look forward to reading other works by her in the future. I choose to believe that this particular book was an anomalous misfire.

  • GONZA
    Nov 26, 2016

    As a person interested in Neuroscience I was super happy of reading this book as a preview for netgalley and I was not disappointed. Siri Hustved was able to convey a lot of information in a clear way, giving also suggestions about related topics and other books of interests. I was delighted even if sometimes it was not such an easy reading because they are almost 600 pages, very dense.

    Come persona interessata alle neuroscienze non vi nascondo la mia gioia per aver potuto leggere in anteprima qu

    As a person interested in Neuroscience I was super happy of reading this book as a preview for netgalley and I was not disappointed. Siri Hustved was able to convey a lot of information in a clear way, giving also suggestions about related topics and other books of interests. I was delighted even if sometimes it was not such an easy reading because they are almost 600 pages, very dense.

    Come persona interessata alle neuroscienze non vi nascondo la mia gioia per aver potuto leggere in anteprima questo super mega saggio di Siri Hustved, che con quasi 600 densissime pagine, offre il suo punto di vista, supportato da quello di molti ricercatori, psicologi e scienziati, su alcuni dei temi piú discussi delle neuroscienze e dell'arte, in modo chiaro. Il tutto non é una passeggiata, ma sicuramente offre parecchi spunti di riflessione ed é soprattutto molto interessante se l'argomento vi appassiona.

    THANKS TO NETGALLEY FOR THE PREVIEW!

  • Hannah
    Jan 19, 2017

    I feel really bad about not finishing this book. And it definitely reflects more on me than on the book - because it is a me-thing this time. I do not have the mental capacity to read this book at the moment. I already knew that I was in trouble when Siri Hustvedt told the reader in the introduction that parts of the book might not be understood unless you have very specific knowledge of neuroscience or art history; which I lack, both in fact. I am good enough with art to be able to have a conve

    I feel really bad about not finishing this book. And it definitely reflects more on me than on the book - because it is a me-thing this time. I do not have the mental capacity to read this book at the moment. I already knew that I was in trouble when Siri Hustvedt told the reader in the introduction that parts of the book might not be understood unless you have very specific knowledge of neuroscience or art history; which I lack, both in fact. I am good enough with art to be able to have a conversation and to put my appreciation in lay person's words, but I do not have any structured knowledge and I lack the vocabulary (both in English and in German) to talk about perception in depth. And when it comes to neuroscience, I am completely at loss. I had to study the basics of neuroscience in school - but what knowledge I acquired is long gone, replaced by other stuff (and that I am even thinking about my brain in this way tells you something about how little I understand about it).

    So what I am saying is this: I did not understand most of the essays I tried to read. And with all the books and theoretical pieces I have to read for my PhD and for work in general, there just is no room for a book like this. When I read in my free time, I am fine with being challenged and I like learning new things unrelated to my field of study but this just was too much for me. And it's a shame! I am sure if I had read this book at another time I would have learned so much. Siri Hustvedt seems like such a clever person and I like the way her mind works and the connections she makes. I am beyond impressed by her and by this collection of essays and I am very sure lots of people will enjoy this book. I might come back to this at some point (when my brain is not this overflowing with Hall and Bourdieu and all the ways in which my PhD is messing with my attention span).

    ___

    I received an arc of this book curtesy of NetGalley and Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for that and sorry for not finishing it.

  • Kathleen
    Dec 11, 2016

    My review for the Chicago Tribune:

    Siri, the computer program that operates as an artificially intelligent personal assistant, appears to know the answers to everything. So seemingly, does the author Siri Hustvedt, or at least such is the impression given by her voluminous, humorous and wide-ranging new collection "A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex and the Mind." Unlike Apple's so-called knowledge navigator, though, Hustvedt doesn'

    My review for the Chicago Tribune:

    Siri, the computer program that operates as an artificially intelligent personal assistant, appears to know the answers to everything. So seemingly, does the author Siri Hustvedt, or at least such is the impression given by her voluminous, humorous and wide-ranging new collection "A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex and the Mind." Unlike Apple's so-called knowledge navigator, though, Hustvedt doesn't just offer up information, although there's plenty of it here; she also delivers it to her audience with an invigorating blend of personality and imagination.

    To explain the guiding principle behind this enormous and eclectic set of essays, Hustvedt supplies an introduction starting with a lecture given at the University of Cambridge in 1959 by the English physicist-turned-popular-novelist C.P. Snow. In it, Snow lamented "the gulf of mutual incomprehension" that he saw as having opened up between "physical scientists" and "literary intellectuals." Having recently read an expanded version of this lecture, Hustvedt — herself a Ph.D. in English literature from Columbia University and a lecturer in psychiatry at Cornell University, not to mention the author of several works of fiction and nonfiction — wound up "severely disappointed" by Snow's arguments. For "Although he identified a problem that has only grown more urgent in the last half-century, I found his discussion of it wordy, wan, and a little naive."

    Hustvedt's reaction would itself be disappointing if she merely stopped at this justified criticism of her predecessor. Fortunately, she presents this trilogy of sorts as a corrective to the problem of "the fragmentation of knowledge." She uses her background in both the arts and the sciences not merely to praise interdisciplinarianism, but also to remedy Snow's exclusion of women from his worldview. She does so refreshingly from the perspective of someone who can say — and back up — such statements as: "I love art, the humanities, and the sciences. I am a novelist and a feminist. I am also a passionate reader, whose views have been and are continually being altered and modified by the books and papers in many fields that are part of my everyday reading life."

    As the subtitle suggests, this idiosyncratic and by turns meditative and argumentative book is divided into three main sections. The first, "A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women," contains 11 essays, many of which were commissioned for catalogs and talks, and includes pieces reflecting on such artists as Louise Bourgeois, Anselm Kiefer and Robert Mapplethorpe.

    Hustvedt's inquisitive and generous responses to paintings and poems give the reader the feeling of going to a museum or library with their most casually intelligent and infectiously enthusiastic friend. "I am drawn to these stories of (poet) H.D. and Emily Dickinson because they are alive with my own identifications," she writes in "Inside the Room" about the relationship between psychoanalysis and creativity.

    The second section consists of a single 203-page essay, "The Delusions of Certainty," and sets out to explore the seminal post-Descartes mind-body question of philosophy, looking at "convictions about mind and matter as two things or one, the human body as a machine or as an organic, less predictable form."

    The third, "What Are We? Lectures on the Human Condition," consists of nine pieces, eight of which are talks that Hustvedt delivered at academic conferences on such topics as "Suicide and the Drama of Self-Consciousness" and "Kierkegaard's Pseudonyms and the Truths of Fiction."

    It's heady stuff, and most readers won't want to plow through too quickly. A better approach might be to take one's time and let each part sink in. However one reads this book, taken as a whole, the pieces across all three parts weave together to create a spellbinding conversation among the sciences and the humanities. All too often in our STEM-obsessed era, these two main bodies of human knowledge are falsely pitted against one another as enemies; yet, in Hustvedt's hands, they are revealed as the true friends they are and ought to be.

    Siri the app typically delivers its responses with certainty. Siri Hustvedt the author tempers her presentation of knowledge with doubt, and the resulting book is paradoxically more satisfying in its thought-provoking ambiguity than all the confidently stated answers in the world.

  • Roman Clodia
    Dec 28, 2016

    This is a collection of essays which fall into that space which is not academic (though Hustvedt herself has a literature PhD and lectures in psychiatry) and yet has some high-brow intellectual content: think long articles in the LRB or The Economist or similar.

    Hustvedt starts with the premise that 'modes of knowing are different' in science and humanities - something that I don't think anyone would disagree with and hardly startling - but I'm not convinced she's really operating in the interdis

    This is a collection of essays which fall into that space which is not academic (though Hustvedt herself has a literature PhD and lectures in psychiatry) and yet has some high-brow intellectual content: think long articles in the LRB or The Economist or similar.

    Hustvedt starts with the premise that 'modes of knowing are different' in science and humanities - something that I don't think anyone would disagree with and hardly startling - but I'm not convinced she's really operating in the interdisciplinary space that she claims here. The essays were originally written in a range of different contexts (commissioned pieces, gallery catalogues, conference papers) and don't necessarily speak to each other in the way that they might do. They're sometimes more musings than arguments or explorations: for example, the essay writing back to Sontag on porn, paraphrases Sontag herself under the assumption that the reader won't be familiar with her work then shoots off into a completely different direction of thinking about 'great' books and what literature is for. This kind of unfocused, lack of rigorousness is disconcerting and a bit random.

    Given the breadth of Hustvedt's references (and she's undoubtedly a wide and voracious reader with a curious, questioning mind) the book really should have an index to map its intellectual contours. So not a book I'd read cover to cover but something to dip into.

    Review copy via Amazon Vine

  • Viv JM
    Jan 30, 2017

    “A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women” is a book of essays split into three sections. The first contains essays about art and criticism, the second part is almost the length of an entire book in itself and is about the mind/body connection, and the third section (my favourite) explores the human condition through the lens of literature, philosophy, sociology and science.

    The collection really demonstrates Siri Hustvedt’s fierce intellect. Her knowledge is vast and encompasses not only art and

    “A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women” is a book of essays split into three sections. The first contains essays about art and criticism, the second part is almost the length of an entire book in itself and is about the mind/body connection, and the third section (my favourite) explores the human condition through the lens of literature, philosophy, sociology and science.

    The collection really demonstrates Siri Hustvedt’s fierce intellect. Her knowledge is vast and encompasses not only art and literature, but also philosophy, psychology and neuroscience. This lengthy book is not an easy read, and requires a commitment of time and concentration but, for me, it was worth the effort, and I have highlighted numerous passages to return to for further consideration and perusal. I will definitely be looking to read more from this author.

  • Paul Wolinsky
    Jan 23, 2017

    Siri Hustvedt is a writer of fiction, mostly, although she has written essays too. It is important to keep this in mind if you are considering reading this book, because whatever anyone says about it -- including me -- you should know that Hustvedt is sensitive to words, and thinks carefully about words when she chooses them.

    This quality, then, her concern with words and the selection of words, makes her a very good guide in the effort to disentangle science from scientism, and reasonable journa

    Siri Hustvedt is a writer of fiction, mostly, although she has written essays too. It is important to keep this in mind if you are considering reading this book, because whatever anyone says about it -- including me -- you should know that Hustvedt is sensitive to words, and thinks carefully about words when she chooses them.

    This quality, then, her concern with words and the selection of words, makes her a very good guide in the effort to disentangle science from scientism, and reasonable journalism or journalistic accounts of the latest developments in brain research, because she cares about these things, as is evident over and over again from the pages of this book, and also because she cares about the culture in which scientific ideas or theories or findings are propagated, and, again, because she herself is a writer, HOW they are propagated. And so the long (approximately 150 pages) second section of the book, which is on the history and current understandings of what has been called "the mind-body problem," and often mind-body dualism, is intriguing because she is constantly on the lookout for lazy thinking and the cliched habits of mind that affect those psychologists, philosophers, neuroscientists and biologists (Darwinian or otherwise) who try to write about important contemporary issues in mind-body relations, such as artificial intelligence or the genetic underpinnings of behavior. While Hustvedt is largely skeptical of claims about "the singularity" (the ability to engineer body parts that will keep people alive long after a "normal" life-span, and the ability to construct "robots that think," (or worse yet for Siri Hustvedt, robots that purportedly "feel"), she doesn't just "cut and run." She advances her own ideas, generally, about embodiedness and what is now commonly called, "the embodied mind."

    Hustvedt's ideas and attitudes about embodiedness are derived from and rooted in her study of phenomenology, most prominently the phenomenological theories of Husserl and Merleau-Ponty, with forays into Susanne Langer, William James, John Dewey and other continental and American philosophers, as well as some of her favorite psychoanalysts, most notably D.W. Winnicott, and psychologists like Daniel Stern. This book is highly recommended for those with an interest in the relationship between thinking and feeling, art and science, history and theory, and philosophy and the psychological and biological sciences. Fans of artificial intelligence should be warned that Siri Hustvedt lends little credence to most of the more elaborate claims of the computational theorists of mind, largely because such thinkers are largely unwilling to countenance the messiness and the embeddedness of thought in the thinker's body. For Hustvedt, thinking is NOT primarily abstract -- it is rooted in a matrix of experience, loving and hating relationships, all of feeling, especially bodily feeling, and, also especially, our primary experience of relatedness to a mother and father, those caretakers with whom we establish our first synchronous or melodic experiences of give-and-take, of dependence and nurture. We do not exist as separate isolated beings who go about the world performing conceptual calculations. Instead, we go about the world with memories of who we were when we were young people, memories which, though hidden or inaccessible to consciousness, nonetheless are influential in consciousness.

    I have tried to give an overview of how Hustvedt, largely, views embodied thought (although I'm pretty sure that's not how she likes to put it, for the most part.)

    The implications of some of these ideas gets talked about in the first section of the book, which deals with artists from Pablo Picasso, Willem de Kooning, Max Beckmann, Jeff Koons, Pina Bausch and Wim Wenders, Pedro Almodovar and others. While I didn't always agree with the thrust of Siri Hustvedt's criticism, I nonetheless found it lively and interesting, and of course sensitive and considered.

    The third section of the book, titled "What are We," deals with topics including looking at art (Chardin and the art historian Aby Warburg come in for close analysis); there is a chapter on suicide and suicidology, including some interesting treatments of the poet Pavese and the French Resistance fighter Leon Amery -- both suicides; as well as a chapter on the treatment of hysteria, (or conversion disorder) and the treatment of epilepsy and PTSD, and medical diagnosis which often confuse or fail to take into account the ambiguities of mind and body as they relate to illness. Much of this chapter (and a good bit of the book) deals with the hazards of leaving the practice of medicine (or just about any practice) to men, when men do such a good job of condescending and failing to take into account the realities of what life is like for women. The last chapter of the book, which I read late at night and do not remember well, was about Soren Kierkegaard, one of Hustvedt's favorite authors.

    Of course, looking back on this review now, there are certain people whose names I have completely omitted from this little review. Freud, for starters and of course Rene Descartes -- one of the cardinal theorists of mind-body dualism. Thomas Hobbes' mechanism comes in for criticism and consideration, but also, interestingly, a philosopher from the 17th century (a contemporary of Descartes) named Margaret Cavendish. Siri Hustvedt is the only writer I have read who takes Cavendish into consideration, and her dismay about this is apparent. "Cavendish is a woman, so therefore she is unworthy of serious consideration," would seem to be Hustvedt's understanding of the justification for the marginalization of Cavendish's thought.

    There is a chapter toward the end of the first section of the book on Hustvedt's experience of leading a writing group on a psychiatric ward at a hospital in Manhattan. This was my favorite chapter, because I thought of how I may have benefitted from such a writer's group. (I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1988, and while I feel the diagnosis may have been iatrogenic, my views on the topic are not accorded much weight by those near and dear to me, including my therapists and psychiatrists.) In any case, Hustvedt's respectful yet critical treatment of modern psychiatry's attempts to explain certain illnesses as being the result of "chemical imbalances in the brain," was, for me, priceless, as I have been arguing something very similar to what she writes in this chapter for a long time. In some sense, I felt vindicated by reading this chapter in the book, but it certainly does not make up for many psychiatric and therapeutic encounters which did not go well, many hospitalizations that did not achieve anything, and many missed opportunities. (In my case, I had to take up writing on my own time, and I indeed did find it therapeutic to write about whatever came to my mind.) I found it interesting that Hustvedt even entertained the idea of attempting to locate or derive a "cause" for the therapeutic action of effect of writing, when, with her knowledge of phenomenology and Merleau-Ponty's understandings of writing as discovering, she already has all that she needs to explain the process of writing as therapy. This, for me, was perhaps the book's biggest flaw. Again and again, I thought that Hustvedt was trying to advance a line for embodiedness and the knowledge that comes with lived experience when she could have been writing about the many vicissitudes and patterns of response which can be interpreted in various ways in aesthetic experience, experience which she clearly reveres so much.

    So, to give an example, I was somewhat disappointed that Hustvedt didn't take a lot of time to talk about forms of art like architecture or fashion, and I was also disappointed that she rarely mentioned athletics as a form of life and a form of intelligence. She probably didn't spend much time on these topics because she wanted to emphasize those things that she has the most knowledge of, but one way in which I thought she could have made a powerful argument would have been to say a little bit more about the "Barry Sanders" controversy.

    For those that remember (or care) there was a time when people argued whether athletes could be said to have "athletic intelligence" comparable to well, I guess something like Spearman's General Intelligence. (This did occur right around the time that Howard Gardner was coming out with his theory of multiple intelligences.) To get right down to it, I recently saw a video that someone posted on Facebook of Barry Sanders -- the former running back for the Detroit Lions -- executing the most startling, and in a word, "brilliant," moves I had ever seen, on a football field. Sanders showed a kind of dexterity and such an unusual sensitivity to where his and his would-be tacklers were in space, that this is for me, largely a matter of "bodily intelligence," or embodied mindfulness. Hustvedt did not go into this at all, as far as I remember, and I rather wish she had. Football, and athletics in general, is a hotly-contested sphere where cultural attitudes about many things, but in this case, intelligence, can be tested in the light of what we are able to consider with respect to "bio-psycho-social" experience.

    And there was not a great deal spoken about music, which I also thought was a shame. Music is such a deep and omnipresent part of our culture, if not world culture, that even with the bits and pieces of Susanne Langer that are quoted here and there, I felt that much more could have been said about it. Language as music, or the development of speech in children, would seem a fertile ground in which to root a study of embodiedness, too.

    But these are minor cavils compared to what Hustvedt did say in the book. Hustvedt would make a great doctor; she has a great deal of respect not only for a profession, but for something more - call it a "calling." She is not afraid to speak about her own genius, but only because she has had to fight to get to the point where she can declare confidently what she thinks. There was a book of feminist theory that came out a long time ago, called "The Authority of Experience." This book might just be another argument for it.

    (And oh yes: I apologize for the length and the drifting quality of this review, which did not make all of its points well, and failed to make some which should have been made. But it is 3:00 A.M.)

  • Sarah L. Kaufman
    Jan 23, 2017

    I had the pleasure of reviewing this book for The Washington Post, writing that Siri Hustvedt's work "is cerebral but also warm, deeply felt. 'A Woman Looking at Men' is ultimately a look at her many loves — the arts, analysis, the mysteries of perception. Through these lenses, she upholds the individual against the seductions of groupthink. She doesn’t come right out and say this, but the strength and lucidity of Hustvedt’s good thinking calls us to have confidence in our own instincts, to be a

    I had the pleasure of reviewing this book for The Washington Post, writing that Siri Hustvedt's work "is cerebral but also warm, deeply felt. 'A Woman Looking at Men' is ultimately a look at her many loves — the arts, analysis, the mysteries of perception. Through these lenses, she upholds the individual against the seductions of groupthink. She doesn’t come right out and say this, but the strength and lucidity of Hustvedt’s good thinking calls us to have confidence in our own instincts, to be alert to delusions and inherited traditions, and to realize that many truths are fiction, and only exist to the extent that we believe them." Here's a link to my full review: