By Adrienne Rich
“We are within the presence the following of a massive American poet whose voice at mid-century in her personal lifestyles is more and more marked by way of ethical passion.”—New York instances e-book Review
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Extra resources for A Wild Patience Has Taken Me This Far: Poems 1978-1981
We can, however, point to an enormous written corpus, an imposing institutional presence, a substantial list of journals, and a foothold in popular consciousness that was unimaginable when Banner and Hartman published their book. If we have not taken over history, we have claimed a rightful position in it; once viewed as pretenders, we now have legitimate claim to Clio’s inspiration. Feminism’s History 25 But legitimacy, for those who began as revolutionaries, is always an ambiguous accomplishment.
Feminist history thrives on interdisciplinary encounters and has incorporated some of the teachings of theory, but it has rightly considered its primary focus to be the discipline of history itself. ) The tension between feminism and history, between subversion and establishment, has been difﬁcult and productive; the one pushing the limits of orthodoxy, the other policing the boundaries of acceptable knowledge. Whether or not we know it, the relationship is not one-sided but interdependent. Feminism transforms the discipline by critically addressing its problematic from the perspective of gender and power, but without the disciplinary problematic there would be no feminist history.
Some ancient representations of Clio show her with a trumpet and a clepsydra (a water clock), perhaps heralding the passage of time. Time conceived as ﬂuidity or ﬂow—a particularly feminine representation—is not easily contained. Clio is also shown with writing implements, books, and scrolls, referring to the fact that she introduced the Phoenician alphabet to the Greeks. If Clio offered the tools of knowledge production, our task is to use them. We are not gods and thus cannot, like her, tell true tales, so we are driven by our critical faculty—which she inspires and arouses—always to revise, always to reach beyond our grasp for new knowledge, new stories to tell.