An Essay on Love and Cruelty
Author: Jacqueline Rose
A daring and provocative book-length essay on why we both romanticize and vilify mothers
A simple argument guides this book: motherhood is the place in our culture where we lodge, or rather bury, the reality of our own conflicts. By making mothers the objects of both licensed idealization and cruelty, we blind ourselves to the world’s iniquities and shut down the portals of the heart.
Mothers are the ultimate scapegoat for our personal and political failings, for everything that is wrong with the world, which becomes their task (unrealizable, of course) to repair. Moving commandingly between pop cultural references such as Roald Dahl’s Matilda to insights on motherhood in the ancient world and the contemporary stigmatization of single mothers, Jacqueline Rose delivers a groundbreaking report into something so prevalent we hardly notice.
Mothers is an incisive, rousing call to action from one of our most important contemporary thinkers.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux