May Sinclair, (born Mary Amelia St. Clair Sinclair; August 24, 1863 – November 14, 1946) was a British novelist, philosopher, poet, and suffragist who was regarded as England’s “leading woman novelist between the death of George Eliot and the rise of Virginia Woolf,” according to David Williams, a critic who wrote for Punch.
She explored the inner lives of ordinary women in some twenty-three novels, while also publishing two works of philosophy, a biography of the Brontës, several collections of poetry, and dozens of short stories.
May Sinclair is largely forgotten today. All of her works had fallen out of print when Virago Press, the noted British feminist publishing house, reissued three of her most significant novels in the early 1980s. At present, however, only The Life and Death of Harriett Frean (1922), which many regard as her masterpiece, is in print. Read More→
Mina Loy (December 27, 1882 – September 25, 1966) was a brilliant English-born poet, playwright, and artist. Light years ahead of her time, she was lauded by her peers for her dense analyses of the female experience in early twentieth-century Western society.
She was associated with other great minds and literary innovators of her time, like T.S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, Marianne Moore, Sylvia Beach, Sinclair Lewis, Ezra Pound, and others. Read More→
This brief biography of Rachel Field (September 19, 1894 – March 15, 1942), a noted yet often neglected American author, will highlight her extensive body of work in the areas of adult fiction, poetry, and children’s fiction. She’s perhaps best remembered for All This and Heaven Too (1938), which was adapted into a film starring Bette Davis, and Hitty: Her First Hundred Years (1929), an award-winning children’s book.
Several of her other books were adapted into films starring prominent Hollywood stars of the time, and upon her untimely death in 1942, newspaper editor Laura Benet remembered her as a calming and reassuring presence to all of those who knew her. Read More→
In the course of American letters, there have been very few writers who are able to approach the iconoclastic status and cultural significance that Susan Sontag (January 16, 1933 – December 28, 2004) gained in her sixty-year career as an essayist, documentarian, political activist and novelist.
Beginning with her classic essay, Notes on Camp (1964), Sontag embraced her role as one of the country’s premier public intellectuals; and, with her signature style of always dressing in black — combined with her long black hair with one distinctive white streak framing her face — Sontag became instantly recognizable in pop culture and in the more refined circles of literary discourse.
Sontag achieved what was believed to be impossible for any American writer: she could easily pontificate on structuralist philosophy and on the history of interpretation — subjects not widely embraced in American culture — yet Sontag easily made the crossover from the inaccessible intellectual into the realm of established literary star. Read More→
The extraordinary Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke (1561 – 1621), was an almost exact contemporary of Shakespeare and has been one of the candidates in various conspiracy theories for the actual author of Shakespeare’s works, in particular his sonnets.
Even though this is nonsense, Mary Sidney, sister of the more famous Philip, was arguably Shakespeare’s – and almost everyone else’s – equal as a poet.
This introduction to Mary Sidney’s life and work is excerpted from Killing the Angel: Early Transgressive British Woman Writers by Francis Booth ©2021, reprinted by permission.