Now for something completely different (LIX)

14 Oct

A Date With Judy (1957, vol. 59)

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Wondering where that concept of Judith as “Sinister Spinster” evolved?  Here are two examples that may provide a clue.

The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1955) by Brian Moore, for a traditional view:

The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne is an unflinching and deeply sympathetic portrait of a woman destroyed by self and circumstance … Judith Hearne is an unmarried woman of a certain age who has come down in society. She has few skills and is full of the prejudices and pieties of her genteel Belfast upbringing. But Judith has a secret life. And she is just one heartbreak away from revealing it to the world. (New York Review Books)

“Our Friend Judith” (1963) by Doris Lessing, for a non-traditional view:

Women of a certain era were expected to perform a number of societal tasks, not the least of which was to marry and become a decent housewife, ever present in the home, living only to serve her husband.  The women who did not marry, who lived alone and remained unmarried and therefore depressed were seen as outcasts. In “Our Friend Judith”, the protagonist is in many ways viewed as the latter, a poorly dressed abnormality that relies on her uncle for support, living in a rather unfortunate apartment by herself. The contradiction, however, is that Judith, unlike her stereotypical spinster counterparts, chooses to remain in this condition. She is an intellectual, a poet with fans that she simply brushes aside, and an occasional lover, carrying on relationships until she grows weary of such interaction and then returning to her prior state. With this in mind, Judith becomes neither a spinster nor a romantic, but instead simply a woman who has freed herself of both societal constraints and expectations. (Essay: The Spinster Assumptions Of “Our Friend Judith”)

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Posted by on October 14, 2012 in something completely different


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