The Crux

The Crux

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Long out of print, Charlotte Perkins Gilmana€™s novel The Crux is an important early feminist work that brings to the fore complicated issues of gender, citizenship, eugenics, and frontier nationalism. First published serially in the feminist journal The Forerunner in 1910, The Crux tells the story of a group of New England women who move west to start a boardinghouse for men in Colorado. The innocent central character, Vivian Lane, falls in love with Morton Elder, who has both gonorrhea and syphilis. The concern of the novel is not so much that Vivian will catch syphilis, but that, if she were to marry and have children with Morton, she would harm the qnational stock.q The novel was written, in Gilmana€™s words, as a qstory . . . for young women to read . . . in order that they may protect themselves and their children to come.q What was to be protected was the civic imperative to produce qpurebloodedq citizens for a utopian ideal. Dana Seitlera€™s introduction provides historical context, revealing The Crux as an allegory for social and political anxietiesa€”including the rampant insecurities over contagion and diseasea€”in the United States at the beginning of the twentieth century. Seitler highlights the importance of The Crux to understandings of Gilmana€™s body of work specifically and early feminism more generally. She shows how the novel complicates critical history by illustrating the biological argument undergirding Gilmana€™s feminism. Indeed, The Crux demonstrates how popular conceptions of eugenic science were attractive to feminist authors and intellectuals because they suggested that ideologies of national progress and U.S. expansionism depended as much on women and motherhood as on masculine contest.Earlier, in 1966, Carl Degler re- issued Women and Economics, which also encouraged Gilman scholarship. ... critical essays on Gilman, a major eaˆšort in the feminist critical engagement with her more well-known texts.5 Unfortunately, thoughanbsp;...

Title:The Crux
Author:Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Publisher:Duke University Press - 2003-07-08


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