Saturday, July 9, 2011

Women writing about men and vice versa

Author Reynolds Price says in this Paris Review interview that he thinks men can write about women more convincingly than women can write about men. This, he explains, is because boys and girls are most often raised by women. Price seems to think men are like blue whales, apparently: the biggest and most mysterious animals. Will women ever crack their strange code? Will women ever be able to understand all the behaviors of these complex creatures?

In a Duke University podcast, Price talked about how Jane Austen never wrote any scenes with only male characters and how she must have felt uncomfortable writing about men. I don't think this proves Austen was uncomfortable writing about men, maybe just uninterested. I'm thinking of the movie "Living Out Loud," which would have been a wonderful movie if only the scene showing men playing poker had been deleted. I think Austen's novels are probably better off only being about women.

I tried thinking of some female authors who have written convincingly from a male POV. I thought of Jhumpa Lahiri, S.E. Hinton, Mary Shelley, George Eliot, JK Rowling, ZZ Packer, and Eudora Welty. Recently, author and acclaimed moron V.S. Naipaul said he could tell within a paragraph or two whether the author was a man or a woman. Here's a fun quiz from the Guardian that lets readers see if they have the same magical ability.

No comments:

Post a Comment