The Argonauts

The Argonauts

eBook - 2015
Average Rating:
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An intrepid voyage out to the frontiers of the latest thinking about love, language, and family

Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts is a genre-bending memoir, a work of "autotheory" offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and language. At its center is a romance: the story of the author's relationship with the artist Harry Dodge. This story, which includes Nelson's account of falling in love with Dodge, who is fluidly gendered, as well as her journey to and through a pregnancy, offers a firsthand account of the complexities and joys of (queer) family-making.
Writing in the spirit of public intellectuals such as Susan Sontag and Roland Barthes, Nelson binds her personal experience to a rigorous exploration of what iconic theorists have said about sexuality, gender, and the vexed institutions of marriage and child-rearing. Nelson's insistence on radical individual freedom and the value of caretaking becomes the rallying cry of this thoughtful, unabashed, uncompromising book.

Publisher: New York : Graywolf Press, 2015
ISBN: 9781555973407
155597340X
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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HMWLibrary2017 Jul 14, 2017

So inventive and personal! And, yes, even the critical theory parts. Memoirs seldom work for me because I have to like the person narrating, and I'm pretty picky (don't get me going on "Eat, Pray, Love"). I really liked Maggie Nelson and her family, and I loved how her life of the mind is also her life of the body - and of her love.

z
Zedd
Jan 13, 2017

I read 1-2 books a week. I thought this would be an interesting read, but I found it to be word dense and too "heavy" in vocabulary to enjoy. Too bad. I lost interest after the first 10 pages, and skipped ahead, hoping it would improve, but it didn't. Would not recommend.

LisaCasserole Nov 03, 2016

I have never read anything quite like this, and boy was it good! Maggie Nelson blends together beautiful insights into motherhood, the power of language and writing, and her life with gender-bending husband, Harry Dodge.

Her memoir is not for everyone. Parts seem more like an academic manifesto and can come across as a bit pretentious. For those who appreciate queer and gender theory, the way she weaves nuggets of theory into her personal experiences is both compelling and fascinating.

PimaLib_RachelW Sep 27, 2016

Maggie Nelson was just announced as a 2016 MacArthur Foundation Genius Award winner!

“While our communities, our nation, and our world face both historic and emerging challenges, these 23 extraordinary individuals give us ample reason for hope. They are breaking new ground in areas of public concern, in the arts, and in the sciences, often in unexpected ways. Their creativity, dedication, and impact inspire us all.”

—MacArthur President Julia Stasch

Read her books to find out why!

m
merliberry
Sep 01, 2016

A beautiful, thoughtful journey not easily categorized. I have been thinking about The Argonauts frequently since I read the entire book in one sitting. Nelson weaves academic ponderings on philosophy, feminism, and gender theory with scenes from her own life. Poignant, illuminating, and timely.

l
lukasevansherman
Aug 11, 2016

It's not often that I read a book that I can't easily classify or explain. Maggie Nelson's "The Argonauts" (It takes its name from Jason's crew, who were seeking the Golden Fleece.) is superficially an essay and it is intensely personal, but it's also a manifesto, a memoir, a political piece, and an intellectual work. I can't say that I always understood it, but I admired it and it's not like much else I've read recently. If I had to distill its message, I'd say it's about the crossroads in gender and sexuality we currently find ourselves at, as traditional boundaries and lines are blurring (or becoming fluid, which seems to be the popular term). With its references to Deleuze, Lacan, and Wittgenstein, it can be a little overwhelming for the non-academic, but Nelson's writing is mostly clear and avoids academic wankery. My favorite sentence begins: "(Eve) Sedwick did an enormous amount to put women's anal eroticism on the map."

LPL_RachaelP Jun 09, 2016

An incredibly interesting, timely work on gender, identity, and family. I found the author's personal moments to be more compelling than the theory she presented.

f
Frybyte
Nov 27, 2015

Interested in Gender issues? Read this book.
Interested in feminist theory?
Read this book.
Wondering who some of the major thinkers may be about sex, equality, feminism etc?
Read the book.
The integration of various people and their thoughts and how she uses or disuses them, the quotes, the citations IF YOU'RE interested in this material will lead you to unknown people/thinkers/ways of thinking.
Just read the book- it's short how hard can that be?
And
If you really don't understand - read slower.

w
Wordnerdthethird
Nov 12, 2015

I loved it. This book delves deep into philosophy, art and love but never feels too abstract. It is grounded by Maggie Nelson herself. She gives a very personal account of her life and her relationships, and poses beautiful questions about love, desire and how a family is formed.

t
tweber58
Sep 08, 2015

Boring...maybe over my head too but after 10 pages if you cannot engage I move on...

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