Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution

Adrienne Rich’s influential and landmark investigation concerns both the experience and the institution of motherhood.

The experience is her own―as a woman, a poet, a feminist, and a mother―but it is an experience determined by the institution, imposed on all women everywhere. She draws on personal materials, history, research, and literature to create a document of universal importance.

Nanci Arvizu, Writing and Reviews Editor

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3 Comments

  1. An important book Those who have criticized this book thus far here are women who derive their sole identity and sense of importance, sadly, from their role as mothers. I know women who thoroughly enjoy being mothers, but they are few and their circumstances are unique. And even some of them still have a clear need to have another identity and a life of the mind they aren’t permitted within the “institution” of motherhood. I myself, and most other mothers I know, struggle with the impossible expectations…

  2. Life Changing Book When I first read OF WOMAN BORN, in the mid-seventies, it was a Godsend. Rich’s feminist critique of the institution of motherhood elucidates the source of so many of the world’s problems. When women, the source of life, the life givers, the ones who bear each one of us into the world, whether man or woman, are denigrated, oppressed, abused, imprisoned, and exploited by governments, religions, and cultures – everything is off-kilter. Rich accurately describes the state of motherhood in the…

  3. Started as term paper, ended up a revelation! We were asked to do a term paper on Adrienne Rich and some of her poetry. During my research I found this book and it changed my entire view of motherhood..or rather the institution of motherhood. I have never realized how literally confining motherhood is. I look back at what my mom used to tell me about how kids held her back from what she wanted to do, and I realize (with the help of this book) what she ment. Not that was being rude when she said this, just that it is a fact that our…

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