Constructing a Nervous System: A Memoir

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Against Reason with Margo Jefferson

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At Vulture, Margo Jefferson discusses her new memoir, Constructing a Nervous System, and how she worked to shake the “haute bourgeoisie” habits of her childhood. “There was a certain well-behaved manner even when I was arguing, standing firm, that I didn’t want to stay in thrall to,” she says. “I was talking about this with a student of mine the other day who was Black and was writing about race. And I said, ‘There are moments where you are very good. But you are working a little too hard to be reasonable and obliging, to make it something that your audience will be able to move toward. I don’t want you to do exactly the opposite, but look at what this is doing.’ So now transfer this back to me: ‘Margo artfully switched it to a student!’”

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