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The secret way of wonder insights from the silence - The Secret Way of Wonder: Insights from the Silence: Guy.



I reviewed Jill Lepore’s The Secret History of Wonder Woman for Hazlitt . The magazine was generous with their space, allowing me to give a detailed survey of a juicy book full of eye-popping information about William Mouton Marston, the creator of Wonder Woman. Yet that review was aimed at a general audience, so skimmed over the comic book specific stuff that the more connoisseurial readers of TCJ  might be interested in. For that reason, I’m offering these notes on the book.

3. There are a few small factual problems. In Chapter 12, we’re told that in 1929, Margaret Sanger “appeared on stage with a gag taped over her mouth, while Harvard historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. read a statement on her behalf.” Arthur Schlesinger Jr. was born in 1917 and was twelve years old in 1929, so obviously he wasn’t the Harvard professor in question. It was likely his father, Arthur Schlesinger Sr.

In sum, Lepore’s The Secret History of Wonder Woman is a major event in comics scholarship. But no scholarly work stands alone; all are always part of a wider conversation. Where Lepore’s book is weakest is when she fails to engage with other scholars, who have done work she needs to acknowledge. At crucial points in her book, there is a failure to open up lines of communication or learn from pioneering scholars. Lepore’s book is still masterful but it could have been even better.


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