The Baby on the Fire Escape: Creativity, Motherhood, and the Mind-Baby Problem

Product Details
$18.95  $17.62
W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date
5.57 X 8.25 X 0.78 inches | 0.56 pounds

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About the Author
Julie Phillips is a journalist who has written on film, books, feminism, and cultural politics. James Tiptree, Jr. is her first book. She lives in Amsterdam, Holland.
[A] tremendous group biography... Phillips is an expert distiller. Instead of developing complete portraits of the artists and writers, she works to connect themes and ideas. She knows when to tread lightly and keep the expository writing tight; she pulls examples that illustrate her points... Her authority is built on knowledge and a mutually trusting relationship with the reader.--Lauren LeBlanc "Los Angeles Times"
An expansive, absorbing survey... Phillips can't resist a good story or a good quote, so her book brims with both... Although The Baby on the Fire Escape examines the particular challenges of gifted artists as they tried to balance the demands of creative work with the demands of motherhood, the book actually addresses a problem faced by all mothers: how to nurture both the child's development and one's own... Illuminating.--Heller McAlpin "Wall Street Journal"
Wonderful.... Investigating motherhood as lived by an inspiring group of twentieth-century writers and artists, The Baby on the Fire Escape refutes all received ideas about creativity and absolute solitude. Julie Phillips examines the lives and work of artists from Gwendolyn Brooks to Louise Bourgeois, from Shirley Jackson to Susan Sontag, who refused to choose between intellectual rigor and motherhood, and finds it's the courage to claim their own centrality that defines them as artists.--Chris Kraus, author of After Kathy Acker and I Love Dick
I devoured every word of The Baby on the Fire Escape, grateful for its penetrating insights about the idiosyncratic arrangements, logistical and psychological, devised by women artists who become mothers. Phillips's compassionate, clearheaded, and lively book forwards our long, vexed cultural conversation about maternity and art. It made me resee my own life as a writer and parent.--Pamela Erens, author of Eleven Hours and Middlemarch and the Imperfect Life
Before I met Ursula K. Le Guin, I had no personal models for how a woman with children might also be a writer. What I did have was the children. Here, with her customary clarity, with empathy, nuance, and acuity, Julie Phillips questions some of our most admired artists about the ways in which the creativity required by motherhood and the creativity required by art have thwarted and supported them.--Karen Joy Fowler, author of Booth and We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves