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Just WordsLillian Hellman, Mary McCarthy, and the Failure of Public Conversation in America$
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Alan Ackerman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780300167122

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300167122.001.0001

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Words of Love

Words of Love

Chapter:
(p.117) III Words of Love
Source:
Just Words
Author(s):

Alan Ackerman

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300167122.003.0006

This chapter turns to the overlapping vocabularies of biological and literary reproduction, and to the ambiguous meanings of “the right to privacy.” For female authors of their generation, privacy concerns spoke to relations between freedom of expression (publication), on the one hand, and freedom to control one's procreation, on the other. The chapter examines strategic points where ambiguities arise in Hellman's and McCarthy's divergent attitudes. Further, it focuses on the language of sex and reproduction, birth control and abortion, as it was published, censored, and otherwise constrained for women who came of age between first- and second-wave feminism. The chapter also focuses on McCarthy's extreme ambivalence about personal autonomy and independence, and shows how her severe critique of aspects of privacy, such as privacy's protection of wrongdoing, is interwoven with her hatred of Hellman.

Keywords:   female authors, privacy, freedom, birth control, feminism, reproduction

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