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New book tackles the 'Girl With the Dragon Tattoo'

(July 31, 2012) Readers couldn't put it down, but when they walk away from Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy do they have a feminist perspective on these wildly successful books?

The editors of a new collection of essays, Men Who Hate Women and Women Who Kick Their Asses, set out to tackle a series of questions many of which are still being debated in online discussions about the books and related movies. Why is Larsson's storytelling, which is so filled with graphic violence toward women so entertaining? What is the Swedish perspective on the trilogy?

"There's a wild juxtaposition in Larsson's books," says co-editor Donna King, an associate professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. "Here we have the unexpected combination of familiar crime fiction devices, such as rape and murder, served up with some remarkable feminist characters. The juxtaposition is jarring, yet strangely compelling. We wanted to know what other feminists thought about it."

The book, which was just released, was co-edited by Carrie Lee Smith, associate professor of Sociology at Millersville University.

The editors and writers in the book ask whether Larsson's explicit portrayal of violence against women is a predictable convention intended to sell books. "Is it simply voyeurism? Or was Larsson trying to provide an unvarnished view of a harsh reality that more people need to recognize in order to stop the violence?"

The book is divided into four sections, Misogyny and Mayhem, Gender and Power in the New Millennium, Swedish Perspectives and Reader's Responses. It is published by Vanderbilt University Press.

Contact: Prof. Donna King
Sociologists for Women in Society

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