Mary Gaitskill Analysis

Other Literary Forms

(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Mary Gaitskill published her first novel, Two Girls, Fat and Thin, in 1991. She has published articles, especially on feminist issues, in major magazines, most notably her essay, “On Not Being a Victim: Sex, Rape, and the Trouble with Following Rules,” in Harper’s Magazine (1994).


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

In 1981 Mary Gaitskill received the Jule and Avery Hopwood Award from the University of Michigan for “The Woman Who Knew Judo, and Other Stories.” Her story “The Nice Restaurant” was anthologized in Nothing But You: Love Stories from “The New Yorker.” Gaitskill was nominated for the 1998 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Adams, Michael. “Specular Rape: Reflections on Early Modern Reflections of the Present Day.” The Centennial Review 41, no. 2 (Spring, 1997). The concept of rape in classical literature, including Tereus’s rape of Philomela in Ovid’s Metamorphoses (c. 8 c.e.) and Lovelace’s rape of Clarissa in Samuel Richardson’s novel Clarissa (1747-1748), is studied in the light of Gaitskill’s interpretation of the “complex subjectivity” that compels people to the act of rape.

Contemporary Literary Criticism 69: 198-209. Contains a comprehensive collection of reviews of the stories in Bad Behavior from Michiko Kakutani, Barry Walters, George Garrett, Carol Anshaw, and many more. Especially interesting is Regina Weinreich’s explanation of how Gaitskill, inspired in her youth by Playboy cartoons, aspired to become a prostitute and how that experience later leaked into her fiction.

Gaitskill, Mary. “On Not Being a Victim: Sex, Rape, and the Trouble with Following Rules.” Harper’s Magazine (March, 1994): 35-44. Gaitskill gives straightforward accounts of times when she has been raped and explanations of other experiences in her life that have led to examinations and explorations of definitions of “rape,” “date rape,” “consensual sex,” and similar terms...

(The entire section is 428 words.)