The Tongue Snatchers

Claudine Hermann, Author, Claudine Herrmann, Author, Nancy Kline, Translator
Claudine Hermann, Author, Claudine Herrmann, Author, Nancy Kline, Translator University of Nebraska Press $25 (145p) ISBN 978-0-8032-2346-2
Reviewed on: 11/28/1989
Release date: 12/01/1989
Women, in Herrmann's dark vision, are trapped in male-created categories of thought and feeling. Society's prevalent ``virile system,'' as decoded by this French novelist-teacher, is hierarchical, misogynistic, preoccupied with control. Woman has been reduced to a mute mirror, an actress reciting lines invented by men. To create an authentic self, to dream her own future, a woman must steal back language from the female-hating culture that has co-opted it. Originally published in France in 1976, this feminist essay is by turns lyrical, wry, angry, recondite, impassioned. Herrmann's referents include Proust, Montaigne, Barbey d'Aurevilly, Lady Murasaki, Claude Levi-Strauss and Zelda Fitzgerald. A lawyer by training, Hermann views ancient Roman law and legend as symptomatic of Rome's quest to annihilate feminine power, an attitude which laid the bedrock for contemporary women's self-entrapment. (Feb.)
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