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Personal Effects: Reading the Journal of Marie Bashkirtseff (review)

Personal Effects: Reading the Journal of Marie Bashkirtseff (review) Reviews 343 about the validity of religion; with Isherwood scholars about the importance of Vedanta; with Vedanta practitioners about American Vedanta scholarship; with gay men about the need to embrace spirituality (but not a Christian ver- sion); with religious homophobes about the role of gay men within religious traditions. Though he tries to integrate postructuralism into conversations about Eastern spirituality, by and large these conversations are not synthesized into a unifi ed argument. It is as if he is arguing in turn with four different an- tagonists, in different registers. This can make reading the book frustrating. Marsh is right to emphasize that Mr. Isherwood Changes Trains is not a biography—at least not a conventional, chronological one. It does seem to be an attempt at a postmodern biography, however, one in which the very notion of biography is under erasure. It may well be that his recursive, over- lapping threads are a strategy toward this end. And yet, some of his method- ological choices maintain more conventional notions of biography. Despite his embrace of Eastern religious systems and poststructuralist thought that question gender as a category, he makes the explicit decision to focus only on “queer men,” specifi cally http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biography University of Hawai'I Press

Personal Effects: Reading the Journal of Marie Bashkirtseff (review)

Biography , Volume 34 (2) – Nov 23, 2011

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © Biographical Research Center
ISSN
0162-4962
eISSN
1529-1456

Abstract

Reviews 343 about the validity of religion; with Isherwood scholars about the importance of Vedanta; with Vedanta practitioners about American Vedanta scholarship; with gay men about the need to embrace spirituality (but not a Christian ver- sion); with religious homophobes about the role of gay men within religious traditions. Though he tries to integrate postructuralism into conversations about Eastern spirituality, by and large these conversations are not synthesized into a unifi ed argument. It is as if he is arguing in turn with four different an- tagonists, in different registers. This can make reading the book frustrating. Marsh is right to emphasize that Mr. Isherwood Changes Trains is not a biography—at least not a conventional, chronological one. It does seem to be an attempt at a postmodern biography, however, one in which the very notion of biography is under erasure. It may well be that his recursive, over- lapping threads are a strategy toward this end. And yet, some of his method- ological choices maintain more conventional notions of biography. Despite his embrace of Eastern religious systems and poststructuralist thought that question gender as a category, he makes the explicit decision to focus only on “queer men,” specifi cally

Journal

BiographyUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Nov 23, 2011

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