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A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and the Mind

Siri Hustvedt

7 Reviews

Rated 0

Prose: non-fiction, Social & political philosophy, Gender studies: women, Psychology

A trailblazing and inspiring collection of essays on art, feminism, neuroscience, psychology by the internationally bestselling novelist Siri Hustvedt.

Internationally acclaimed as a novelist, Siri Hustvedt is also highly regarded as a writer of non-fiction whose insights are drawn from her broad knowledge in the arts, humanities, and sciences.

In this trilogy of works collected in a single volume, Hustvedt brings a feminist, interdisciplinary perspective to a range of subjects. Louise Bourgeois, Pablo Picasso, Susan Sontag and Knut Ove Knausgaard are among those who come under her scrutiny. In the book's central essay, she explores the intractable mind-body problem and in the third section, reflects on the mysteries of hysteria, synesthesia, memory, perception, and the philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard. With clarity, wit, and passion, she exposes gender bias, upends received ideas, and challenges her reader to think again.

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Praise for A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and the Mind

  • A writer with an unusual blend of incisive intelligence, humour and imagination. There is a moving essay on the blurring of gender in Louise Bourgeois and a brilliantly comic analysis of Karl Ove Knausgaard . . . She is able to combine [a] personal perspective with erudite analysis and, as the personal perspective is at the forefront, she is always open to uncertainty, which she sees, rightly, as itself a political stance . . . as the complicated warnings of experts are decried and swaggering lies broadcast on the news, this kind of uncertainty matters more than ever . . . We are fortunate to have Hustvedt voicing doubt so intelligently. - Financial Times

  • It is obvious that hers is a great mind that is constantly exploring, searching, "becoming" . . . An impressive collection by a novelist who clearly loves the humanities, the sciences and the ancient art of storytelling. But Hustvedt is not only a writer. She is also a passionate reader and therein lies the secret of this book . . . Here is a great book that invites reading . . . not only to 'look at a woman writer looking at men looking at women', but also to look within, deep inside the recesses of our minds, so as to recognise the fascinating complexity but also the heartbreaking fragility of human existence. - Observer

  • Richly explored . . . and, when art is the subject, touchingly personal . . . It's hard to overstate the pleasure and the comfort that such demystification provides . . . it does indeed make the world feel larger, more expansive, more alive to the touch - New York Times Book Review

  • Few writers eviscerate bias and flawed logic as elegantly and ruthlessly as Hustvedt . . . she expertly flays assertions about biological and psychological sex differences . . . Hustvedt does not resolve her many questions, but her exhilarating conclusion testifies to the virtues of doubt . . . Her work is cerebral but also warm, deeply felt. - Washington Post

  • [Hustvedt] impresses as a writer of blazing intelligence and curiosity . . . This is fertile and fascinating territory for scientists and humanists alike. - Prospect

  • [An] erudite collection . . . The book conveys the wide range of Hustvedt's reading as she focuses on the interstices between people; between disciplines; and between concepts such as art and science, truth and fiction, feeling and perception. The research is sound and the scholarship engaging, and the exacting prose turns humorous and almost warm when Hustvedt incorporates her personal reflections - Publishers Weekly

  • A wide-ranging, irreverent, and absorbing meditation on thinking, knowing, and being - Kirkus Reviews

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Siri Hustvedt

Siri Hustvedt is the author of seven novels including the international besteller What I Loved, The Blazing World, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction, and Memories of the Future, as well as five collections of essays: Yonder, Mysteries of the Rectangle: Essays on Painting, A Plea for Eros, Living, Thinking, Looking and A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women. She has also published a poetry collection, Reading To You, and the memoir The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves.

Hustvedt has won the International Gabarron Prize for Thought and Humanities and the European Essay Prize for her essay The Delusions of Certainty. She is a Lecturer in Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and has written on art for the New York Times and the Daily Telegraph. Born in Minnesota, Siri Hustvedt lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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