Marjorie (M.M.) DeLuca Online Book LaunchWednesday May 26 2021 7:00 pm, Winnipeg, Zoom, Virtual
To celebrate the release of Marjorie (M.M.) DeLuca's historical thriller The Savage Instinct (Inkshares), please join us for a lively discussion on the myth of female hysteria—both its historical underpinnings and its hold on modern-day society—and how defiant women have subverted its power through the ages.
Joining us in conversation with author DeLuca will be Rachel Vorona Cote, author of Too Much: How Victorian Constraints Still Bind Women Today (Grand Central), and Terri Kapsalis, writer and professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
The Savage Instinct is a taut psychological thriller that offers a delicious take on deviant and defiant Victorian women in a time when marriage itself was its own prison.
Marjorie (M.M) DeLuca is a screenwriter and novelist who writes historical fiction, suspense and YA sci-fi. She was born in England but now lives in Winnipeg where she previously taught at several Winnipeg high schools. She now writes full time for publishers in the US and UK.
Rachel Vorona Cote is the author of Too Much: How Victorian Constraints Still Bind Women Today (Grand Central). Her work has also appeared or is forthcoming in the Virginia Quarterly Review, The Nation, Jezebel, The Poetry Foundation, and various other places. She teaches a nonfiction writing course through Catapult.
Terri Kapsalis is a writer and performer. She is the author of Jane Addams' Travel Medicine Kit, The Hysterical Alphabet, and Public Privates: Performing Gynecology from Both Ends of the Speculum. Her writings have appeared on Lit Hub and in various edited volumes and journals including Short Fiction, The Baffler, Denver Quarterly, New Formations, Public, and Parakeet. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
- by Marjorie Deluca
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"A fascinating portrayal of womanhood in Victorian England that is also a nail-biting thriller that will keep readers riveted until the very last page." --Booklist
Perfect for fans of Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace and Hannah Kent's Burial Rites, this taut psychological thriller offers a delicious take on deviant and defiant Victorian women in a time when marriage itself was its own prison.
England, 1873. Clara Blackstone has just been released after one year in a private asylum for the insane. Clara has two goals: to reunite with her husband, Henry, and to never--ever--return to the asylum. As she enters Durham, Clara finds her carriage surrounded by a mob gathered to witness the imprisonment of Mary Ann Cotton--England's first female serial killer--accused of poisoning nearly twenty people, including her husbands and children.
Clara soon finds the oppressive confinement of her marriage no less terrifying than the white-tiled walls of Hoxton. And as she grows increasingly suspicious of Henry's intentions, her fascination with Cotton grows. Soon, Cotton is not just a notorious figure from the headlines, but an unlikely confidante, mentor--and perhaps accomplice--in Clara's struggle to protect her money, her freedom and her life.
- by Rachel Vorona Cote
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Lacing cultural criticism, Victorian literature, and storytelling together, "TOO MUCH spills over: with intellect, with sparkling prose, and with the brainy arguments of Vorona Cote, who posits that women are all, in some way or another, still susceptible to being called too much." (Esmé Weijun Wang)
A weeping woman is a monster. So too is a fat woman, a horny woman, a woman shrieking with laughter. Women who are one or more of these things have heard, or perhaps simply intuited, that we are repugnantly excessive, that we have taken illicit liberties to feel or fuck or eat with abandon. After bellowing like a barn animal in orgasm, hoovering a plate of mashed potatoes, or spraying out spit in the heat of expostulation, we've flinched-ugh, that was so gross. I am so gross. On rare occasions, we might revel in our excess--belting out anthems with our friends over karaoke, perhaps--but in the company of less sympathetic souls, our uncertainty always returns. A woman who is Too Much is a woman who reacts to the world with ardent intensity is a woman familiar to lashes of shame and disapproval, from within as well as without.
Written in the tradition of Shrill, Dead Girls, Sex Object and other frank books about the female gaze, TOO MUCH encourages women to reconsider the beauty of their excesses-emotional, physical, and spiritual. Rachel Vorona Cote braids cultural criticism, theory, and storytelling together in her exploration of how culture grinds away our bodies, souls, and sexualities, forcing us into smaller lives than we desire. An erstwhile Victorian scholar, she sees many parallels between that era's fixation on women's "hysterical" behavior and our modern policing of the same; in the space of her writing, you're as likely to encounter Jane Eyre and Lizzie Bennet as you are Britney Spears and Lana Del Rey.
This book will tell the story of how women, from then and now, have learned to draw power from their reservoirs of feeling, all that makes us "Too Much."
- by Terri Kapsalis
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In Public Privates, a book about looking and being looked at, about speculums, spectacles, and spectators, about display, illumination, and reflection, Terri Kapsalis makes visible the practices and representations of gynecology. The quintessential examination of women, gynecology is not simply the study of women's bodies, but also serves to define and constitute them. Any critical analysis of gynecology is therefore, as Kapsalis affirms, an investigation of what it means to be female. In this respect she considers the public exposure of female "privates" in the performance of the pelvic exam.
From J. Marion Sims's surgical experiments on unanesthetized slave women in the mid-nineteenth century, to the use of cadavers and prostitutes to teach medical students gynecological techniques, Kapsalis focuses on the ways in which women and their bodies have been treated by the medical establishment. Removing gynecology from its private cover within clinic walls and medical textbook pages, she decodes the gynecological exam, seizing on its performative dimension. She considers traditional medical practices and the dynamics of "proper" patient performance; non-traditional practices such as cervical self-exam; and incarnations of the pelvic examination outside the bounds of medicine, including its appearance in David Cronenberg's film Dead Ringers and Annie Sprinkle's performance piece "Public Cervix Announcement."
Confounding the boundaries that separate medicine, art, and pornography, revealing the potent cultural attitudes and anxieties about women, female bodies, and female sexuality that permeate the practice of gynecology, Public Privates concludes by locating a venue from which challenging, alternative performances may be staged.