Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Literary Criticism Feminist

Permanent Revolution


by (author) Gail Scott

Book*hug Press
Initial publish date
May 2021
Feminist, Gay & Lesbian, Women Authors
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2021
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2021
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


With a Foreword by Zoe Whittall.

"A writer may do as she pleases with her epoch. Except ignore it," says Gail Scott. Permanent Revolution traces her seminal investigation of prose experiment to the present, including a recreation of the iconic text Spaces Like Stairs, in a collection of essays relating the matter of writing to ongoing social upheaval. "Where there is no emergency there is likely no real experiment," she writes.
In conversation with other writers across the continent identified with current queer/feminist avant-garde trajectories, including l’écriture-au féminin moment in Québec, and queer continental New Narrative, Permanent Revolution is an evolutionary snapshot of contemporaneous Fe-male ground-breaking prose.
With Permanent Revolution, Scott interrogates her era, twice. Belonging in the canon alongside Maggie Nelson, Lydia Davis and Renee Gladman, Gail Scott is an important feminist thinker of our time.

Praise for Permanent Revolution:

"Permanent Revolution is written in the gap between what a novel could have been and what is possible now, and that's a kind of grammar. Reading these essays, I felt the part of me that never writes, but longs to, come back to life for a few moments and/or forever." —Bhanu Kapil


"I can still remember the thrill of first entering the space of Gail Scott's novel, My Paris, a diary written all in present participles, the way I stumbled along the sentences as if around a city. In these essays we get to travel through Scott's thinking through narrative, gender and queer aesthetics, from philosophizing her own experiments in prose to being in conversation with the écriture feminine of friends, from Nicole Brossard's Mauve Desert to New Narrative. She also writes through her literary foremothers, from Kathy Acker through the trilogy of the "masturbating French dykes" (ha!) (Irigaray, Cixous, Wittig) to Marguerite Duras. It was Duras's nonfiction I thought about when reading Permanent Revolution—profound and poetic, enacting the urgency of literature amidst the emergencies of now." —Kate Zambreno, author of Heroines and Drifts

About the author

Gail Scott is an experimental novelist. The Obituary (New York, Nightboat, 2012; Coach House, 2010), a ghost story set in a Montreal triplex, was a 2011 finalist for Le Grand Prix du Livre de la Ville de Montreal. Other novels include My Paris (Dalkey Archive), about a sad diarist in conversation with Gertrude Stein and Walter Benjamin in late 20th century Paris, Main Brides and Heroine. Spare Parts Plus 2 is a collection of stories and manifestoes. Essays are collected in Spaces Like Stairs and la theorie, un dimanche (translated as Sunday Theory from Belladonna, NY, 2013). Scott's translation of Michael Delisle's Le D'asarroi du matelot was shortlisted for the Governor General's award in 2001. Scott co-founded the critical French-language journal Spirale'(Montreal) and is co-editor of the New Narrative anthology: Biting the Error: Writers Explore Narrative (Toronto: Coach House, 2004). She is currently completing a memoir based in Lower Manhattan during the early Obama years.

Gail Scott's profile page

Other titles by Gail Scott