Kate Chopin (1850 – 1904) started her writing career with stories for magazines such as Vogue and The Youth Companion. She is known to be a foremother of 20th century feminism and often wrote in a realist perspective, reflecting the setting of her time. She suffered from depression which also influenced the themes in her work. Chopin is best known for the short novel The Awakening, which was quite scandalous in its time. Here are some of her influential quotes.
“Some people are born with a vital and responsive energy. It not only enables them to keep abreast of the times; it qualifies them to furnish in their own personality a good bit of the motive power to the mad pace.” (The Awakening and Selected Stories, 1899)
Simone de Beauvoir was a philosopher, political activist, novelist, and social theorist who grew up in France during the 20th century. She studied mathematics and philosophy at the Institut Catholique and the Sorbonne, becoming the youngest philosophy teacher in France at age 21. Her most popular work, The Second Sex, was published in 1949 and has made its mark as a feminist manifesto during the second wave. Here are some of her philosophical quotes.
“Man is defined as a human being and woman as a female – whenever she behaves as a human being she is said to imitate the male.”
“I wish that every human life might be pure transparent freedom.” (The Blood of Others, 1946)
“One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” Read More→
Born in the United Kingdom, Agatha Christie used her observations of people to construct her characters and stories, drawing inspiration from eavesdropping on conversations, her experiences as a nurse with the Red Cross and an alter-ego she created for her romantic novels. Christie received many awards for her literary excellence over the course of her life and remains one of the best selling authors of all time. Here are quotes from the writer, best known for the entertaining, media-ready mysteries that earned her the title, The Queen of Crime:
“Nothing turns out quite in the way that you thought it would when you are sketching out notes for the first chapter, or walking about muttering to yourself and seeing a story unroll.”
“The best time to plan a book is while you’re doing the dishes.”
“But surely for everything you love you have to pay some price.” (An Autobiography, 1986) Read More→
Audre Lorde, self-identified as a black lesbian feminist, used literature to spread ideas of intersectionality during the political movements of the mid-to-late 20th century. A child of parents from the West Indies in New York City, Lorde started her writing career young and went on to teach as well as becoming involved in political activism through her work and organizations she helped found. Here are some of her quotes, which straddle the worlds of poetry and politics.
“The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”
“My sexuality is part and parcel of who I am, and my poetry comes from the intersection of me and my worlds . . . Jesse Helms’ objection to my work is not about obscenity . . .or even about sex. It is about revolution and change . . . Helms knows that my writing is aimed at his destruction, and the destruction of every single thing he stands for.” Read More→
Willa Cather‘s works of fiction and nonfiction represented consummate craftsmanship of the written word, so it’s no surprise that she left a body of insightful quotes. Starting with the Nebraska State Journal while still in high school, she continued writing and editing newspapers and magazine, always improving on and refining her writing. She made her mark in fiction, defined by spare, clean prose.
“Desire is creation, is the magical element in that process. If there were an instrument by which to measure desire, one could foretell achievement.”
“It does not matter much whom we live with in this world, but it matters a great deal whom we dream of.”
“Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen.” Read More→