In Extreme Domesticity: A View from the Margins, Susan Fraiman provides a fresh view of domesticity, one that might “rescue domestic figures and practices from trivialization and neglect” (17). The domesticity she values is not the conservative ideology of home and family oppressive to the women who do its work, nor is it the means through which bourgeois women assert bourgeois cultural hegemony. For the working-class, homeless, queer, immigrant, divorced homemakers Fraiman discusses, the domestic is a space of resistance and of making a home “a play for self-preservation, self-expression, and belonging” (19). As she leads us through texts by authors as diverse as Daniel Defoe, Elizabeth Gaskell, Martha Stewart, Leslie Feinberg, Sandra Cisneros, and Samuel R. Delaney—to name only a few—Fraiman makes a case for a domesticity that comes out of dispossession and precarity, a domesticity carefully made out of wreckage...
KATHY ALEXIS PSOMIADES is associate professor of English at Duke University. Her publications include Beauty's Body: Femininity and Representation in British Aestheticism (1997) and Women and British Aestheticism (1999), edited with Talia Schaffer. Her book in progress is “Primitive Marriage: Victorian Anthropology and the Novel.”
Kathy Alexis Psomiades; Real Domesticity. Novel 1 November 2018; 51 (3): 533–537. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00295132-7086754
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