Muzzle reviews Elizabeth Hall’s “I Have Devoted My Life to the Clitoris”

 

Hall_Clitoris_front-over-largeAt Muzzle, the brilliant Claudia Cortese reviews Elizabeth Hall’s I Have Devoted My Life to the Clitoris (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2016).

Here are some fave excerpts:

Hall’s book is not history or feminist theory; not art criticism, poetry, memoir; not anatomy, psychology, theology. It’s a 63-page list detailing what happens when one woman decides to read everything she can about the clit. She doesn’t find as much as expected, but what she unearths speaks louder than a whole library of research.

Okay, I lied: this book is history, theory, art criticism, poetry, memoir, anatomy, psychology, even a dash of theology (well, anti-theology). I Have Devoted My Life to the Clitoris is a bulleted list (yes, as you may have guessed, this review mirrors Hall’s structure) that tosses the reader into an interdisciplinary whirlpool circling one small nub….

I want to read Hall’s book on the subway, in a hallway, at a coffee shop—anywhere someone can see the jacket. 2016 may well be renamed the Year of the Pussy, which means that yet again, our bodies have been politicized. I want passersby to see me reading a book that charts how women have been hidden in plain sight for centuries, which is what this volume is ultimately about (well, that, and also porn and the poetry of the pussy and anti-rape clits: more on that later). We have been both everywhere and nowhere at once. Our bodies have been displayed and desired and debased, while our particular traumas and particular pleasures have been erased….

Let yourself yelp while reading. When I learned that spotted hyenas have sex through their clits, so penetration “requires a great deal of patience and precision” and “forced copulations are impossible,” I scrawled ANTI-RAPE CLITS!!! across the margin and texted my bestie, “OMG, dude—hyenas have anti-rape clits!” with knife and tongue emojis punctuating my excitement. Yeah, this is that kind of book.

Read the rest.