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All Reviews - Nothing Mat(t)ers
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Demystifing a French literary mode in which the sexism of the content is hidden behind the worship of its own discourse, that is the iconoclastic task brilliantly undertaken by Somer Brodribb. While she will certainly cause a lot of trouble in 'le petit monde parisien', she has magnificently shown that "postmodernism is the cultural capital of late patriarchy. It is the art of self-display, the conceit of masculine science and genetic engineering in an ecstatic Nietzschean cycle of stasis."
Andrée Michel, Montreuil France, 1991. Author, Le Féminisme.
This brave, brilliant (and funny!) book by a Canadian feminist is the antidote for intellectual toxicities caused by decentered deconstructionist detritus. The Plucky Wench of the Year Awards definitely goes to Brodribb, for proving the emperor has no clothes or brains.
Ms. Magazine, May/June 1993
If one has any interest in 'postmodernism' whatsoever, Somer Brodribb's excellent Nothing Mat(t)ers is required reading. Through extensive and detailed discussions of the historical, intellectual, cultural, and philosophical contexts of the founding 'fathers' of postmodernism, her erudite analysis illuminates the phenomena of postmodernism. (She argues) feminism must be praxis, a critique in actionŠ an ethics that occurs within the circumference of human touch: to touch matter, and to make touch matter. In essence, the book confronts the lack of humanity evident in the absence of the subject and privileging of the 'system' or structure over experience in postmodernism. This book needs to be read and pondered not because it has the answers or is complete in its purview (it is remarkably thorough in regard to the theory and theorists it addresses), but because Brodribb raises the vital question that postmodernism has slowly erased under the weight of the critique of ideological structure-what matters.
David Clippinger, Rain Taxi, vol 4 no 2 Summer 1999.
An extremely eloquent work; a searing, feminist critique of postmodernism with all its masculine predeterminants in existentialism, its Freudian footholdings and its Sadean values. In the very character of her writing, Brodribb has created quite literally a new and important discourse in feminist theory. Her insistently radical critique of essentialism-that which is passed to us from both the masculinist thinkers and their women followers who too often speak eloquently on their behalf-is damning. She demystifies postmodernism, revealing that it and all that ever came before it only represent yet more versions of the old patriarchal politics that damage us. She returns to the feminist theory that will sustain us with the message that we must continue to resist the easy temptation to be derivative of others and continue to originate our own theory, thought and politics-all stemming from a critical understanding of the condition of women under male domination.
The Women's Book Club Catalogue, London, UK, 1993
This is a superb book, witty, erudite and passionate.
Angela Miles, 1993, Author Feminism: From Pressure to Politics.
Somer Brodribb has produced a highly original and authoritatively written critique of contemporary French poststructuralist/postmodernist thought.
Nancy Hartsock,, 1992, Author, Money, Sex and Power.
Brodribb discusses the work of some of the most widely known postmodernist and poststructuralist writers, focusing on the way they construct woman as an idea and how they attempt to become/speak this woman. In a fascinating analysis of Jean-Francois Lyotard's exhibition at the Centre George Pompidou in Paris, entitled Les Immatériaux, Brodribb argues that postmodernism is actually pushing further into the schism of mind and body in an attempt to escape, finally, the body, the material, altogether.
What we need to escape, according to Brodribb, is not the body, but the dualistic thinking that finds its latest expression in postmodern anti-materiality. In contrast to this philosophy of the immaterial, Brodribb sees feminist thinking as materialist, in this sense: "An understanding of the integrity of being and knowing, sense and sensuality, recognizes that the mind cannot exist without the body, and our bodies cannot live without our minds." This is a feminist standpoint in which questions framed by the old paradigm of either/or are no longer interesting, except as far as their tenacity is concerned. This is precisely what Nothing Mat(t)ers demonstrates: the tenacity of dualism, how it persists, how it shows up in a (false) variety of permutations.
Ellen Travis, Herizons, Winter 1993.
Both lyrical and analytical and inspiring, I wish Brodribb and others like her had predominated in my university days.
Nancy Goldhar, Kinesis, Feb 1993.

‘This is a long-awaited and much-needed book from a tough-minded, embodied and unflinching scholar.’

Janice Raymond

‘An eloquent work, Somer Brodribb gives us a feminist critique of postmodernism … [and] in the very form and texture of the critique, she literally creates new discourse in feminist theory.’ 

Kathleen Barry
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