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marriage for what they might get out of it. She does not make it clear whether she includes herself in this sample or not: The new member of the divorce colony wondered, perhaps, at the time of her marriage, why love didn’t do to her all the strange things that love is supposed to do. Why didn’t she have that sense of oneness , for example, that love is supposed to bring. Secretly she is disappointed . But there are compensations. She has an attractive husband . Other women would like him. She is getting many things she wants,—a new apartment, a car, an income—and sex. Of course she is in love. And her husband adores her. At the end of two or three years she is a young married woman with a problem. She feels that she has been cheated. What is love, anyway? Where is it? This pattern of a woman getting without giving is, she argues, still more evident among intellectual and highly cultured women. The problem is that these women set dogma and rules on love. Above all, modern women hold a “neurotic fear of the partner’s dominition [sic] and power,” despite the fact that it is, as Boulton maintains, “a psychological fact that [the] will to subordination is a part of love.” She depicts the present moment as a time of transition, when the newly liberated woman must get beyond the “will to power” in marriage: When woman has grown up more, when she has passed through this stage of fear of the man who was so long her master, she will no doubt go back—or should one say forward?—to that acceptance of love and life which is the crown of glory of human existance [sic]. She will love again. She will not be afraid of childbirth; or of being left stranded because her husband might love another woman; of whether her husband is her intellectual superior or not; or of whether he or she makes more money; or of whether she is being prevented from expressing her personality. . . . She won’t bother about these things . . . because she will realize that, in the big scheme of things, they are really not worth worrying about. She will know her own strength and fight her own weakness. The day that woman knows that she doesn’t have to lean on man, that she can really walk alone, she will lose her fear—and, perhaps, get a great deal of joy out of leaning on men when it is necessary and letting him lean on her.65 It is impossible to know whether this piece was written in self-recrimination or in cynicism or merely with the perverse idea that misogyny sells. I Divorce Papers • 197 have found no evidence that this essay sold or was even submitted for publication, but in a sense it is a draft of her story of what it was like to be married to Gene, and there are traces of this piece in Part of a Long Story and in Sheaffer’s notes on his interviews of her. Modern marriage had not served her well, and she was to some extent willing to blame herself and modern womanhood. Then, too, she was optimistic about her capability of going on, joyfully unmarried. And there the traces of Boulton’s writing career just about come to an end. There would come an interesting novel, published in 1944, and Part of a Long Story in 1958, and an incidental piece or two, but much of what followed 1930 was just the strenuous effort to be a writer. An inventory of Agnes’s unpublished manuscripts, made in 1971 by Barbara Burton, records a dozen or so titles of writings never published.66 She must have found the period from 1930 to 1944, when she apparently published nothing , to be extremely frustrating. Her companion through most of this period , James Delaney, must have felt even greater frustration. Indeed, I have been unable to find a single word he ever published. He continued to wrestle with alcoholism. Within a month of Agnes’s return from Reno, Delaney was in an auto accident, with Agnes’s car, caused by his drunken driving. His resolve to stop drinking, which he had put into effect shortly before Agnes departed for Reno, must have broken down, perhaps around June 5, when the last of his daily letters was written, about a month before she would return. By then...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780472027057
Related ISBN
9780472117178
MARC Record
OCLC
657217551
Pages
328
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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