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Jane Brox

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Inclou el nom: Jane Brox (Author)

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The Best American Essays 1996 (1996) — Col·laborador — 133 exemplars


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I enjoyed this and it was very thorough if a bit preachy
cspiwak | Hi ha 4 ressenyes més | Mar 6, 2024 |
The "social history" promised by the subtitle of Silence is pretty limited in scope. Author Jane Brox focuses particularly on two environments: prisons and monasteries. Despite a brief engagement with Thoreau and some short tangential passages about the development of silent reading, silence in Quakerism, and so forth, institutional penitence dominates the account.

The fourth of the five parts is dedicated especially to the social effects of gender on expectations of silence. An extensive discussion of female silencing and related judicial punishments leads into the women's particulars of incarceration and monasticism. Implicitly, silence is given to be a sign of obedient virtue in women for the history treated, but there is no clear sign of how any masculine silence compares or contrasts with it (let alone the silences imposed on exceptional gender and gender resistance).

Brox's prose is generally lucid and occasionally beautiful. The history is leavened with reflexive anecdotes regarding her research experience and significant digressions about architecture. A considerable portion of the book is given over to thoughts from and accounts of the twentieth-century celebrity monk Thomas Merton.

I learned some history in the course of this reading. It was surprising that I was a little less ignorant of the ancient and medieval aspects of monasticism than I was of the modern evolution of the US penitentiary. But in any case, I never really arrived at the understanding of the social role of silence that the subtitle indicated would be on offer.
… (més)
2 vota
paradoxosalpha | Hi ha 2 ressenyes més | Nov 22, 2022 |
An intriguing read. I picked it up partly because of the cover, I thought it was so pretty and yet haunting. The review I saw mentioned an "Eye of God" window in one of the prisons and that reminded me of the Kilmainham Gaol prison in Dublin Ireland that I visited last summer that had a similar "rehab" of prisoners: that they needed to know that God was watching them. In this book though it was also an attempt to so isolate a prisoner that they would hopefully turn to God and change their ways after release. I found it interesting her connection between prison life in the early centuries of Europe and America and monastic life in both areas as well. Silence. One by choice or calling, the other by consequence of actions. One that can offer relief from the chaos of the world with time to relect and meditate, the other that can change a human within days to pure madness. Thomas Merton is now on hold at the library for me, because the author enjoyed his writing so. Being a quiet person by nature, the subject of silence doesn't scare me, as long as its by choice.… (més)
BarbF410 | Hi ha 2 ressenyes més | May 22, 2022 |
Like the folks who got electrical lines in their homes in the 30s and 40s I still don't know exactly what electricity is. But I used it to read this book and enjoyed the different perspectives Brox explores.
Je9 | Hi ha 4 ressenyes més | Aug 10, 2021 |



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