A Queer and Pleasant Danger: A Memoir by Kate Bornstein

By Kate Bornstein

“I used to be born male and now I’ve received scientific and govt files that say I’m female—but I don’t name myself a girl, and that i recognize I’m now not a guy. . . .”

Scientologist, husband and father, tranny, sailor, slave, playwright, dyke, gender outlaw—these are only a number of phrases that have outlined Kate Bornstein in the course of her amazing existence. For the 1st time, all of it comes jointly in A Queer and delightful possibility, Kate Bornstein’s stunningly unique memoir that’s set to alter lives and enrapture readers.

Wickedly humorous and disarmingly sincere, this can be Bornstein’s so much intimate booklet but. With knowledge, wit, and an unwavering solution to inform the reality (“I must never inform lies”), Bornstein stocks her tale: from a pleasant Jewish boy transforming into up in New Jersey to a strappingly good-looking lieutenant of the Church of Scientology’s Sea flagship vessel, and later to Nineties Seattle, the place she turns into a emerging megastar within the lesbian neighborhood. In among there are other halves and fanatics, heartbreak and triumph, bridges mended and damaged, and a trip of self-discovery that may mesmerize readers.

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Of particular interest for this study is the analogy that Friedman makes between Gusdorf’s description of a culture in which autobiography is impossible and what she calls the ‘marginalised cultures of women’, a type of culture without the elements Gusdorf considers to be the necessary preconditions for autobiography, a culture in which the individual does not oppose himself to all others; [in which] he does not feel himself to exist outside of others, and still less against others, but very much with others in an interdependent existence that asserts its rhythms everywhere in the community […in which] lives are so thoroughly entangled that each of them has its center everywhere and its circumference nowhere.

This returns us crucially to Weintraub’s distinction between individualism as a conception of the ideal relation between the individual and society, and the personality conception of individuality. Women’s autobiographical practices, like the postcolonial practices under analysis here, seem to explore the social conception of individualism. The ‘I’ does not necessarily ‘represent’ a ‘we’, but is often a vehicle to explore the relation between the ‘I’ and that ‘we’. Gusdorf, as we have seen, calls the Western male ‘gatherer of men, of lands, of power, maker of kingdoms or of empires’.

Autobiography is a mode of writing that constantly reinvents itself and whose basic premise is that of self-questioning, not only of the subjectivity under investigation, but of the very forms in which that investigation may take place. POSTCOLONIAL STUDIES, THE POSTCOLONIAL SUBJECT AND MOTIVATED READING STRATEGIES The struggle for the power to name oneself and one’s state is enacted fundamentally within words, most especially in colonial situations. 62 Among the assumptions that have been referred to above is the underlying assumption among many French critics that the French school and the French language are forces for good, providing the tools that enable Auto & Ind pages rev again 1/2/05 4:27 PM Page 33 Life/Writing in the Colonial and Postcolonial Contexts 33 a kind of liberation through language (French as the language of selfhood, as Déjeux declares it).

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