Review: Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson

This book was required reading for two of my college lit courses: one for modern women authors and another titled “queer theory.” The former because Written on the Body was written by Jeannette Winterson in 1992; the latter because the unnamed narrator is of an undefined sex and gender. So much in our society carries the implication of being “for women,” or “for men,” but Written on the Body refuses to define its narrator this way. Winterson is careful to never push her narrator too close to conventional ideas of masculinity or femininity, and even though students in both classes tried to guess, this only forced us to examine our own biases and assumptions. e.g. “If a character does _____, why do you assume they’re a woman?” read more