“The Mary Daly Reader” by Mary Daly, edited by Jennifer Rycenga and Linda Barufaldi— Female and Alive

Daly, Mary. “The Mary Daly Reader”, edited by Jennifer Rycenga and Linda Barufaldi, NYU Press, 2017.

Female and Alive

Amos Lassen

I first heard of Mary Daly as an undergraduate when her name came up as we were reading Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”. Little did I know then how much Daly would influence the way I thought and I regarded what has come to be known as early feminist literature. Mary Daly has been referred to as

“outrageous, humorous, inflammatory, Amazonian, intellectual, provocative, controversial, and a discoverer of Feminist word-magic”. Her influence was great, especially on Second Wave feminism was enormous. She dared to speak openly about new ways of being female and alive. She formulated theories about “Bio-philia, Be-ing as Verb, and the life force within words” and she was controversial with what she had to say about race, transgender identity, and separatism. Most of her writings are here and with them are introductions to each selection for context.  

This is truly a comprehensive reader that wonderfully provides a vital introduction to the core of her work and the  complexities hidden away in the pages of her books. Not only are we very lucky to have so much Daly in one place, the editors have made it all accessible to a broad readership, without diluting Daly’s witty but complicated vocabulary. Work on this book began in collaboration with Daly while she was still alive and was completed after her death in 2010. I am sure that many will find surprises here and that is interesting because she had such a huge following that could quote her freely. The writings here have been selected from over a forty-year span contain highlights from Mary Daly’s published works including her major books “Beyond God the Father”, “Gyn/Ecology”, and “Pure Lust”, as well as smaller articles and excerpts. There are additional contributions from Robin Morgan and Mary E. Hunt.  

This is a perfect introduction to Mary Daly as well as a treasure for feminist thinkers who are already familiar with her work and want to access the essence of her thought in a single book. I missed having the chance to study with her here in Boston because I was out of the country for so long but every time I pass Boston College I am reminded of the stories we heard about her tenure there and this makes me admire her even more. Daly was a philosopher/theologian/ poet, and she used all of those tools to demolish patriarchy, refusing to believe that domination was a natural state of being. I would have loved to see her do that live. She had great expectations for women and she was totally committed to women.

groundbreaking work of a feminist philosopher whose expectations for women were only exceeded by her commitment to them. Her use of the English language was something amazing and she dared to publicly condemn what she felt were the evils of the world. For me she was transformative and when I was a graduate student taking a course in feminist literary criticism, my professor would stop when necessary and ask, “Amos, what does Mary Daly have to say about this?”

Contents
Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Robin Morgan

Biographical Sketch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mary E. Hunt

Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Editors’ Note . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Introduction: A Kick in the Imagination . . . . . . .

Jennifer Rycenga and Linda Barufaldi

PartI.WindsofChange(to1971). . . . .

  1. The Case against the Church. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  2. Christian History: A Record of Contradictions . . .
  3. The Pedestal Peddlars. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  4. The Second Sex and the Seeds of Transcendence . .

Part II. From God to Be-ing (1972–1974) .

  1. The Women’s Movement: An Exodus Community
  2. The Problem, the Purpose, the Method. . . . . . .
  3. After the Death of God the Father. . . . . . . . . . .
  4. Beyond Good and Evil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  5. The Second Coming of Women and the Antichrist .
  6. The Bonds of Freedom: Sisterhood as Antichurch. .
  7. Antichurch and the Sounds of Silence . . . . . . . .
  8. The Final Cause, the Future, and the End of the Looking Glass War . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. .

Part III. The Double-Edged Labrys of Outrageous/Outraged Philosophy (1975–1984)………………… 121

  1. Preface to Gyn/Ecology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  2. The Metapatriarchal Journey of Exorcism and Ecstasy . . .
  3. Secular S and M
  4. African Genital Mutilation: The Unspeakable Atrocities . .
  5. Prelude to the Third Passage . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  6. Newspeak versus New Words . . . . . . . . . . . .
  7. Sparking: The Fire of Female Friendship . . . . . .
  8. The Dissembly of Exorcism . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  9. Daly on Matilda Joslyn Gage . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  10. On Lust and the Lusty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  11. Metaphors of Metabeing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  12. Beyond the Sado-Sublime: Exorcising Archetypes, the Archimage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  13. Evoking . . . . .
  14. Restoration and the Problem of Memory . .
  15. Phallic Power of Absence. . . . . . . . . . .
  16. Realizing Reason . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  17. The Raging Race. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  18. From “Justice” to Nemesis . . . . . . . . . .
  19. The “Soul” as Metaphor for Telic Principle .
  20. Be-Friending: The Lust to Share Happiness

Part IV. Spiraling Onward (1985–2010): Future andPastPiraticalCoursing. . . . . . . . . .

  1. Early Moments: My Taboo-Breaking Quest—To Be
    a Philosopher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  2. The Dream of Green . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  3. The Anti-Modernist Oath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  4. My Doctoral Dissertation in Philosophy: Paradoxes . . . .
  5. The Time of the Tigers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319
  6. Re-Calling My Lesbian Identity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 324
  7. Some Be-Musing Moments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 327
  8. The Fathers’ Follies: Denial of Full Professorship . . . . . . . . 330
  9. Classroom Teaching of Women and of Men . . . . . . . . . . . 334
  10. On How I Jumped over the Moon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 337
  11. Magnetic Courage. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 344
  12. Quintessence: The Music of the Spheres . . . . . . . . . . . . . 352
  13. A Heightened Experience of Losing and Finding (Response

to Audre Lorde) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 355

  1. What Terrific Shock Will Be Shocking Enough?. . . . . . . . . 360

Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 371

Works by Mary Daly: A Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 415

Secondary Sources on Mary Daly. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 421

Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 435

AbouttheAuthor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 451

AbouttheEditors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 453

Leave a Reply