Jacqueline Rose’s new book begins with three remarkable women: revolutionary socialist Rosa Luxemburg; German-Jewish painter Charlotte Salomon, persecuted by family tragedy and Nazism; film icon and consummate performer Marilyn Monroe. Together these women have a shared story to tell, as they blaze a trail across some of the most dramatic events of the last century – revolution, totalitarianism, the American dream. Enraged by injustice, they are each in touch with what is most painful about being human, bound together by their willingness to bring the unspeakable to light. Taking the argument into the present are today’s women, courageous individuals involved in some of the cruellest realities of our times. Grappling with the reality of honour killing – notably through the stories of Shafilea Ahmed, Fadime Sahindal and Heshu Yones – Rose argues that the work of feminism is far from done. In the final three chapters, she celebrates the work of three brilliant contemporary artists – Esther Shalev-Gerz, Yael Bartana and Therese Oulton – whose work grows out of an unflinching engagement with all that is darkest in the modern world. Women in Dark Times shows us how these visionary women offer a new template for feminism. Taking their stand against the iniquities of our times, they tread a path between public and private pain, confronting us with what we need most urgently, but also often, cannot bear to see.
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