Against Our Will: Sexual Trauma in American Art Since 1970

Vivien Green Fryd

The Pennsylvania State University Press

ISBN: 978-0-271-08206-6; 368 pages; 7″ × 10″; 29 color/65 b&w illustrations
February 2019

I was already a fan of Fryd’s work–which has appeared in Panorama, as well as many other important art history journals–when the folks at Penn State asked me to proofread and index this important and much-anticipated title. Fryd’s decades-long exploration into the “connective tissue” (her words) between art and trauma studies derive, in part, from her own experience with assault and with recovered memories triggered by visual art (read more here). 

It was a daunting thing to be among the last sets of eyes on this book during a time when sexual assault has been leading the news cycle, and new crises and court decisions have emerged on nearly a daily basis. In the end, I would argue, the book is essential reading not only for art historians but also for survivors of assault and those who work every day to help them deal with the lasting effects of trauma.

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