Involuntary Episcopacy

The Stroppyblog has prominently displayed on its front page Rebcca West‘s famous remark that “I myself have never been able to find out what feminism is; I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.” I’ve been reading her short biography of Augustine today, and I rather liked this [from p.101]:

“Involuntary episcopacy is one of the few perils which man has been able to eradicate since the time of Augustine, and it is hard for us to realise that it was then a hovering terror, almost as the press-gang once was in England.”

I think there should probably be more Rebecca West-themed blogging, but that may not be a widely shared opinion.

0 thoughts on “Involuntary Episcopacy”

  1. Bonus content in the comments: here’s another passage, from a bit earlier in the book:

    “For there was to grow in him [Augustine] to morbid proportions as he grew older that unhappy attitude to sex, consisting of an exaggerated sense of its importance combined with an unreasoning horror of it, which is not uncommon among men but rare among women other than those affected with hysteria. The cause of this attitude may lie to some extent in the less dignified anatomy of man, a point on which Augustine copiously complained; but it may lie to some extent in the disadvantageous situation of man in the sexual act, who finds that for him it ends with physical collapse and the surrender of power, whereas for his partner it ends with motherhood and an increase of power.” [p.44]

  2. Further bonus content: I see that the doormat quote sometimes has the words, “or a prostitute” tacked onto the end of it, words which are occasionally omitted, as in the Stroppyblog version.

  3. I recently read ( part) of Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, her jumbo book on Yugoslavia. I was overwhelemed by her erudiition, particularly in Church history and theology.
    Her book on Augustine does a teriffic job on capturing the strengths and weaknesses of the sometimes unsaintly saint

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