The Madwoman’s Underclothes

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Known principally for her feminist ideology, Germaine Greer has always questioned complacent establishment attitudes. Many of the writings (some of them previously unpublished) collected in THE MADWOMAN’S UNDERCLOTHES address issues of particular concern to feminists: the politics of equal rights, the place of women in Third World countries, rape, abortion, freedom of choice, the right to choose to give birth.

Greer also examines phenomena of popular culture in pieces that provide valuable insights into the changing values of contemporary society. These essays are particularly interesting because they are reminders of how rapidly times change; her writing on such topics as the death of Jimi Hendrix, the famine in Ethiopia, her debate with Norman Mailer, or the 1972 Democratic convention all reflect the intensity with which those issues were followed, particularly by political liberals--and the rapidity with which these same events faded from memory.

This collection can serve as a means for gaining insight into those issues that militant feminists believe are important, but one need not share Greer’s political biases to find her work stimulating or interesting. She writes with a force and conviction that can be unsettling, particularly when she discusses such controversial issues as sexual politics, pornography, or female sexuality. It is this strength of vision that makes THE MADWOMAN’S UNDERCLOTHES a worthwhile book.