Andrea Dworkin before her death. Please feel free to circulate widely.
September 26, 1946 - April 9, 2005
Andrea Dworkin is internationally renowned as a radical feminist
and author who has helped break the silence around violence against
In her determination to articulate the experiences of poor, lower-class,
marginal, and prostituted women, Dworkin has deepened public awareness
rape, battery, pornography, and prostitution. She is co-author of the
pioneering Minneapolis and Indianapolis ordinances that define
as a civil-rights violation against women. She has testified before the
Attorney General's Commission on Pornography and a subcommittee of the
Senate Judiciary Committee. She has appeared on national television
including Donahue, MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, 60 Minutes, CBS Evening
and 48 hours. She has been a focus of articles in The New York Times,
Newsweek, The New Republic, and Time. And an hour-long documentary
"Against Pornography: The Feminism of Andrea Dworkin," produced by the
was watched by more viewers in England than any other program in the
series and has been syndicated throughout Europe and Australia. Filmed
New York City and Portland, Oregon, it included excerpts from Dworkin's
impassioned public speaking and intimate conversations between Dworkin
women who had been used in prostitution and pornography, most since
The author of 13 books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, Dworkin
is a political artist of unparalleled achievement. "In every century,
are a handful of writers who help the human race to evolve," said Gloria
Steinem; "Andrea is one of them." Dworkin's first novel, Ice and Fire,
published in 1986; Mercy followed in 1990 to wide acclaim in the U.S.
abroad- "lyrical and passionate," said The New York Times; "one of the
postwar novels," said London's Sunday Telegraph; "a fantastically
book," said the Glasgow Herald. Her latest nonfiction book is Life and
Death: Unapologetic Writings on the Continuing War Against Women (The
Dworkin's activist political life began early. In 1965, when she was
18 and a student at Bennington College, she was arrested at the United
States Mission to the United Nations, protesting against the Vietnam
She was sent to the Women's House of Detention, where she was given a
internal examination. Her brave testimony about the sadism of that
experience-reported in newspapers around the world-helped bring public
pressure on the New York City government to close the Women's House of
Detention down. An unmarked community garden now grows in Greenwich
where that prison once stood.
Dworkin's radical-feminist critique of pornography and violence
against women began with her first book, Woman Hating, published in 1974
when she was 27. She went on to speak often about the harms to women of
pornography and addressed the historic rally in 1978 when 3,000 women
attending the first feminist conference on pornography held the first
Back the Night March and shut down San Francisco's pornography district
In 1980 Dworkin asked Yale law professor Catharine A. MacKinnon for
help in bringing a civil-rights suit for Linda Marchiano, who as "Linda
Lovelace" had been coerced into pornography, including Deep Throat.
current law, Dworkin and MacKinnon discovered, there was no way to help
Later, in 1983, while co-teaching a course on pornography at the
of Minnesota Law School in 1983, they were commissioned by the
City Council to draft a local ordinance that would embody the legal
principle, first proposed by Dworkin in Linda Marchiano's behalf, that
pornography violates the civil rights of women. Dworkin, MacKinnon, and
others organized public hearings on the ordinance-the first time in
that victims of pornography testified directly before a governmental
Dworkin has been a uniquely influential inspiration both to legal
thinkers and to grass-roots feminist organizers. Her original legal
theory-that harm done to women ought not be legally protected just
it is done through "speech," and that sexual abuse denies women's speech
rights-has not only fomented a rift between advocates of civil rights
civil liberties but has also generated a Constitutional crisis, a
fundamental conflict between existing interpretations of the First and
Fourteenth Amendments. A tireless fighter against the pornography
and those who collaborate with it, Dworkin has herself been stigmatized
professionally for her efforts to help women harmed by pornography- in
because U.S. media conglomerates side with pornographers' right to turn
women into "speech." Since the American Booksellers Association and the
American Publishers Association became plaintiffs in a 1984 lawsuit
the Indianapolis ordinance, Dworkin's options for publishing in the U.S.
have dropped off dramatically. Her last three books have had to be
in England first. Attempts to get the BBC documentary broadcast in the
have so far been unsuccessful. Yet in 1992 the BBC invited Dworkin to
return, to participate in a nationally televised debate on "political
correctness" at the prestigious Cambridge Union.
Called "the eloquent feminist" by syndicated columnist Ellen
Goodman, Dworkin has been a featured speaker at universities,
and Take Back the Night marches throughout North America and Europe,
speaking out powerfully against crimes of violence against women, the
right, racism, and anti-Semitism. The New York Times described one of
lectures on pornography at New York University Law School as "highly
passionate," and reported that the audience responded with a standing
ovation. "She moved this audience to action," said a Stanford University
spokesperson. A University of Washington spokesperson said, "She
the women and men present; in fact a coalition on violence against women
came out of her lecture." Ms. magazine admires "the relentless courage
Dworkin's revolutionary demands. . . Her gift . . . is to make radical
seem clear and obvious."
The Andrea Dworkin Online Library
Heartbreak: The Political Memoir of a Feminist Militant, 2002, Basic
Scapegoat: The Jews, Israel, and Women's Liberation, July 2000, The Free
Press (U.S.A.), Virago (June 2000, Great Britain). Nonfiction.
Life and Death, March 1997, The Free Press. Collected articles,
Mercy, 1991, Four Walls Eight Windows, (U.S.A.); Secker & Warburg (1990,
Letters From a War Zone, 1989, Dutton, and 1993, Lawrence Hill Books
(U.S.A.); Secker & Warburg (1988, England). Collected essays.
Pornography and Civil Rights: A New Day for Women's Equality, 1988,
Organizing Against Pornography (coauthored with Catharine A. MacKinnon).
Intercourse, 1987, 1997 [tenth-anniversary edition] The Free Press
Secker & Warburg (1987, England). Nonfiction.
Ice and Fire, 1987, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (U.S.A.); Secker & Warburg
Right-wing Women, 1983, Coward, McCann & Geoghegan/Perigee. Nonfiction.
Pornography: Men Possessing Women, 1981, Putnam's/Perigee; 1989, E. P.
the new womans broken heart, 1980, Frog In The Well. Short stories.
Our Blood: Prophecies and Discourses on Sexual Politics, 1976, Harper &
Woman Hating, 1974, Dutton. Nonfiction.
Morning Hair, 1968, designed, printed, and published by the author,
type, handbound. Poems and fiction.
Child, 1966, poems published on Crete.
Contributions to anthologies
Bitches and Sad Ladies, Lavender Culture, Take Back the Night, The Woman
Lost Her Names, Feminist Frontiers, A Mensch Among Men, Transforming a
Culture, Pornography: Women, Violence and Civil Liberties, The Sexual
Liberals and the Attack on Feminism, Making Violence Sexy: Feminist
Pornography, Feminist Jurisprudence, Violence Against Women: The Bloody
Footprints, The Female Body, Feminism in Our Time, Feminist Frontiers
The Gay & Lesbian Literary Companion, Wild Women, Issues in Feminism: An
Introduction to Women's Studies (3rd ed.), Race and Class in Mass Media
Studies, The Price We Pay, several legal casebooks, and others.
to Sexual Harassment: A Speak-out (1992), Just Sex (2000), Marilyn
Books and articles have been translated into French, German, Dutch,
Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Russian, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, Chinese,
Lithuanian, Flemish, Croatian, Galacian, and other languages; books are
sold in English all over the world.
Contributions to periodicals
Articles have appeared in The American Voice, America Report, Berkeley
The Body Politic, Broadside, Canadian Women's Studies, City Limits,
Christopher Street, Chrysalis, Emma, Feminist Review, Feminist Studies,
Community News, Harvard Women's Law Journal, Healthsharing, Heresies,
Wire, The (London) Guardian, The (London) Sunday Times, The (London)
Educational Supplement, The Los Angeles Times, Maenad, Michigan Journal
Gender & Law, Michigan Quarterly Review, Mother Jones, Ms., New
Science, New York Native, New York Newsday, The New York Times Book
The New Women's Times, off our backs, On the Issues, San Francisco
of Books, The Second Wave, Sinister Wisdom, Social Policy, Soho Weekly
Sojourner, Trouble and Strife, La Vie En Rose, Village Voice, Win, Woman
Power, The Women's Review of Books, and others.
Winner: American Book Award 2001 for Scapegoat
Lectures, seminars, and workshops at University of Chicago Law School,
Stanford University, Smith College, Stony Brook University, Queens
Fordham University, Yale University Law School, New York University, New
York University Law School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
College, Boston University, State University of New York at Old Westbury
at Albany, University of Michigan, Penn State University, Harvard
University of Pennsylvania, University of Massachusetts at Amherst,
College, Pratt Institute, Radcliffe College, Stanford University, San
Francisco State College, University of California at Davis, University
Wisconsin at Madison and at Milwaukee, University of Illinois, Florida
University, Sullivan County Community College, Douglass College,
of Washington at Seattle, Washington State College, Evergreen College,
Dominion University, Reed College, University of Minnesota at
and at Duluth, University of Minnesota Law School, University of
University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), Hamilton College,
College, and others; Smithsonian Institution; National Organization for
Women (New York; Washington, D.C.; Lincoln, Nebraska; Seattle; New
Women's Rights Park.
Take Back the Night speeches at rallies in New Haven, Cleveland,
Denver, Los Angeles, New Brunswick, Norfolk, Portland (Maine), San
Francisco, Calgary (Canada), Edmonton (Canada), New Orleans, and others.
Readings of published and unpublished works at colleges, women's
bookstores, and benefits for feminist groups and theater groups.
Lectures in London, Leeds, Dublin, York, Norwich, East Anglia, Toronto,
Glasgow, Edinburgh, Oslo, Stockholm, Bergen, and others.
Interviews in newspapers, magazines, journals, on radio, in the United
States, Canada, Italy, England, Ireland, Holland, New Zealand,
Norway, Sweden, Germany, Russia, the former Yugoslavia, Israel.
Television appearances on Donahue, 60 Minutes, Nightwatch, CBS Evening
MacNeil-Lehrer Report, BBC Omnibus (hour-long documentary: "Against
Pornography: The Feminism of Andrea Dworkin," fall 1991), 48 Hours, and
B.A., Bennington College, 1968; literature major, philosophy minor.
Visiting Professor in Women's Studies and Law, University of Minnesota,
1983: taught class with Catharine A. MacKinnon sponsored by the Law
and the Women's Studies Department on pornography; taught class in
literature sponsored by the Women's Studies Department; was on both the
School faculty and the Liberal Arts faculty.
Coauthored (with Catharine A. MacKinnon) the first legislation
pornography as a violation of women's civil rights; organized hearings
pornography for the City of Minneapolis to establish the harm of
to women and children; coauthored revised version of the civil-rights
for the City of Indianapolis.
The Authors Guild, PEN, Fellow of the Women's Institute for Freedom of
Press, American Heritage Dictionary Usage Panel.
Member of The Southern Poverty Law Center (Klanwatch), National Abortion
Rights Action League (NARAL), Planned Parenthood, National Women's
Caucus, founding sponsor of The Abortion Fund (to provide abortions to
women, now part of Planned Parenthood), Amnesty International, National
Organization for Women. Former adviser to the National Council on Women
THE BOOK SHE WAS WRITING AT THE TIME OF HER DEATH
Writing America: How Novelists Invented and Gendered a Nation
By Andrea Dworkin
The nationalism that fueled the Iraq war-as well as the anti-nationalism
that opposes it-has a unique and identifiable origin story that has
been told. It is the dynamic process by which writers at the beginning
the twentieth century articulated a new American national identity-they
literally made it up.
In this book I will tell that story--how the notion of "American"
came to mean what it does today--through a completely fresh reading of
writers who came of age around World War I, especially Hemingway,
Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Wright, Cather, O'Connor, Welty, and Hurston. I
analyze the ways in which each claims to be an American, or claims
that are American, or frames what America is and who Americans are. For
better or for worse, American national identity is like a
closed system of values and self-referential beliefs about itself-an
to which each of these writers has been a major contributor.
This will also be a reading of American national identity that takes
account of gender in a way that has never been done before. I will show
these writers use writing to create and maintain gender and then how
is used to formulate the self-concept American.
Gender in American national identity is not, and never has been,
like the popular conception of gender as something that is formed in
childhood and then remains constant. In fact writers write gender,
constantly creating and recreating it, constantly giving it new content.
This is as true for Zora Neale Hurston as it is for Ernest Hemingway.
the gender that writers write becomes the crucible in which writers
the meaning of being American.
I am proposing that there is direct causal relation between
gender-the internal sense of self-identity with social expression-and
national identity, which is the communal expression of dominance and
submission. The desire in the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries has
for dominance. The character of American national identity has become a
desire for greater and greater influence on foreign cultures.
contribution to a normative masculinity suffuses pop culture and
military policy post nine/eleven, as surely as Richard Wright's
Bigger Thomas foreshadows the pathology of the urban ghetto as well as
basic ethos of hip-hop. Zora Neale Hurston is the real exile, inside the
boundaries of the United States. Her work has been ignored because of
race and its power: de white man throw down de load and tell de nigger
man tuh pick it up. He
pick it up because he have to, but he don't tote it. He hand it to his
women-folks. De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as I can see.
Hurston's national identity challenged Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and
But one thing is definite. The iron has entered my soul. Since my god of
tolerance has forsaken me, I am ready for anything to overthrow
supremacy, however desperate. I have become what I never wished to be, a
good hater. I no longer even value my life if by losing it, I can do
something to destroy this Anglo-Saxon monstrosity.
Each writer I have selected has a political dimension or a sexual
theme not often remarked on. For instance, Hemingway, even in For Whom
Bell Tolls, returns to the sexual theme of androgyny or sameness in sex
ultimately to repudiate it; but it haunts his work. Given that he
his sons to see his mother because she was "androgynous," this emerges
part of the internal masculinity he creates through his writing. Like
Hemingway, the writers I will deal with are more complicated when it
to gender than they seem. The same is true with respect to national
identity. Hemingway, part of an exile community in Paris as a young
lived most of his adult life outside of the United States, spoke fluent
Italian, French, and Spanish; and worked over the facts of his life in
Writing is essential because writers are conscious of choices made
through language and have a set of ethics based on their aspirations as
writers. The source of being for each writer is that they identify the
purpose of their lives as writers; all experience goes through that
metaphysical praxis. Not to take on writing as such as the first element
building a self and a country or nationalism would be a form of willful
blindness. In the same way, the deep impulses of gender have been
the connection, that is, between writing and gender. I am saying that
of these writers defined or redefined gender and the American soul in
that continue to move and motivate us as Americans. Nine/eleven might
pushed us too close to Hemingway and too far from Eudora Welty.
The chapters will be interrelated, not separate essays. The model is
my book Intercourse, in which I use literature to explicate the paradigm
dominance and submission involved in sexual intercourse. I want to know
one can learn about the masculine from Hemingway, who after all created
castrated hero; or the feminine from Fitzgerald, who was arguably
in relation to real women and whose gorgeous writing style affirms a
dimension of the feminine; or the meaning of a modern consciousness in
Faulkner, who in As I Lay Dying conflates the living and the dead; or
brutal and subversive rage of the oppressed in Wright, who himself set
benchmark for Ellison and Baldwin; or the love in O'Connor's dark
faith; or the imagination in the immigrant novels of Cather, with their
wide, rural landscapes; or the ethical choices made as a writer by
Zora Neale Hurston's long exile from the world of white-controlled
literature and the making of an American culture.
I intend to focus on the creative work, the books or a book of each
author to locate the gender strategies that account for the creation of
American identity. While the biographical information on each author
inform my vision, my plan is not to write mini-biographies or to mine
familiar clichés about their work. Instead what I will bring to this is
deep commitment to literature and my love of writing. I also value the
political in writing; I value it too much to fall back on stereotypes
these writers. Rather, using their books more than their lives will
to bring a new eye to the work. From The Sun Also Rises to Native Son to
Their Eyes Were Watching God, my analysis of gender and national
will provide new readings as well as a new theory of the founding of the
contemporary American consciousness and conscience.
I want to articulate the meaning of national identity. Conceptually
this approach follows on the political explication of the nation of
that I did n Scapegoat: The Jews, Israel, and Women's Liberation, which
the American Book Award. The ways in which gender suffuses national
identity, or, following Virginia Woolf, two separate national
one for men, another for women, will be the central focus of Writing
The writing style of each writer will be integrated into the
analysis by showing how the formal use of language exposes or hides the
purposes of each writer.
For instance, with Hemingway his early work suggests a flexible,
even gender-bending, view of male-female sex and sex roles. In two books
published posthumously, he posits a sameness in men and women and
role reversal in sex. Perhaps the through-a-Freudian-glass analyses of
Sun Also Rises are wrong and the castrated hero and female heroine are
gender inverted? Perhaps one is not reading a story about the submerged
fear of women's sexuality but instead the woman lives a male life and
male a female life. Perhaps she's the boy and he's the girl, which
that women are castrated and live limited lives because of it. The more
read (or reread in most cases) Hemingway, the more I believe that at
his early work has a feminist subtext. One begins to see in The Sun Also
Rises the beginnings of Hemingway's nationalist chauvinism, expressed
paradoxically in the exile of these two characters. The question of how
Hemingway changed into someone who wrote about men as an advocate of
hypermasculinity while at the same time his American chauvinism grew is
I propose to follow.
The influence U.S. writing has had on world literature is no less
explosive than the influence of pop culture. I intend to explore in each
writer the American identity with its dynamism and, in some cases, the
appearance of an optimism, the dark side of which is not extinguished.
American identity as these writers forged it is the beginning of what is
called "the American Century." Some of it runs counter to the
rhetoric surrounding both Normandy and the post-nine/eleven war. The
regionalism of Welty and Faulkner, for instance, constitutes a deep
of the American nation as such, a kind of literary federalism. Hemingway
Fitzgerald, with their differing pro-American stances, lived much of
adult lives outside the U.S. With all the writing on Hemingway and
Fitzgerald, there is nothing that expresses a complex view of how gender
actually creates their nationalism. I have also been thinking a great
about writing and would like to explore what it is and what it means
the writers I have identified. Finally, then, this is an homage to
who articulated the early modern principles of a late twentieth-century
Writing America will be both original and accessible. I intend to
use simple prose without a surfeit of quotes from secondary sources. I
write Writing America in three years.