RadFem Archives

Radfem.org is an online resource for radical feminist literature, writing and history.
The Andrea Dworkin Collection
“Sometimes I look around at my generation of women writers, the ones a little older and a little younger too, and I know we will be gone: disappeared the way Jean Rhys was disappeared. … We expect our mediocre little books to last forever, and don’t even think they have to risk anything to do so. Yet, the fine books of our time by women go out of print continually; some are brought back, most are not. I wish I had grown up reading Jean Rhys. I did grow up reading D. H. Lawrence and Jean Genet and Henry Miller. But her truth wasn’t allowed to live. To hell with their fights against censorship; she was obliterated. I couldn’t learn from her work because it wasn’t there. And I needed Jean Rhys a hell of a lot more than I needed the above-named bad boys: as a woman and as a writer. I don’t know why we now, we women writers, think that our books are going to live. There is nothing to indicate that things in general have changed for women writers. I know the children of the future will have a lot of sexy literary trash from men; but I don’t think they will have much by women that shows even as much as Jean Rhys showed in 1934. This disappearance of women writers costs us; this is a lot worse than having to reinvent the wheel. When a woman writer is “lost,” the possibilities of the women after her are lost too; her true perceptions are driven out of existence and we are left with books by men that tell “a lot of lies one way and another.” These are lies that keep women lost in all senses: the writers, the Annas. We have not done much to stop ourselves from being wiped out because we think that we are the exceptional generation, different from all the ones that came before: the lone generation to endure male dominance (we say we are fighting it) by writing about it. Our dead sisters, their books buried with them, try not to laugh.”
-Andrea Dworkin, Letters from a War Zone
The day we started the Andrea Dworkin project, Ms Magazine published their “100 Best Non-fiction Books of All Time” [Oct 2011]. None of Andrea Dworkin’s books made the reader selected list. Her work has been, as she might say, “obliterated”.
An unfortunate consequence of such a list, beyond the obvious political implications, is that the popular books will get reprinted, while the unpopular, forgotten books will continue to stay out of print and out of the minds of future generations, and of course, out of future lists.
Most of Andrea Dworkin’s books are currently out of print, some for many years. Only two are available in an electronic format (Intercourse and Heartbreak).
Yet, regardless of the opinions of book publishers and Ms Magazine readers, Andrea Dworkin’s work remains as relevant, as powerful and as mind-shattering as ever before. Dworkin lived a remarkable life, and she left behind a remarkable collection of work that spans a diverse range from fairy tales and footbinding to Nicole Brown Simpson and Bill Clinton. Her work is genius, heartwrenching, engaging, witty, insightful, funny and inspirational.
With this project, we hope that people will read and reread her work. We hope that her idea’s will not be “buried with her” and lost to future generations.  We hope her anger, her voice and her ideas rediscovered will get us all that much closer to the days of liberation that she dreamed and fought for.


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