Pearl S. Buck (1892 – 1973) was an American author of fiction and nonfiction, humanitarian, and human rights advocate. She was also the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. She had a prolific career, authoring some seventy books, and was also a dedicated human rights advocate, founding the East and West Association in 1941.
Pearl Buck’s second novel, The Good Earth, is her best-known work and remains the one that defined her place in American literature. It received both the Pulitzer Prize and the Howells Medal in 1932. Following are quotes from The Good Earth, a classic novel that’s still widely read and studied:
Lydia Maria Francis Child (1802 –1880) was an American author, social reformer, journalist, and abolitionist. A native of Medford, Massachusetts, she was educated despite her father’s disapproval. Child’s passion for learning led to her writing many works of fiction and nonfiction, as well as her dedicated advocacy of the rights of women and Native Americans.
Later in life, her views became a bit muddled, but as a mid-19th-century author, she’s still considered influential. Here’s a compilation of honest and insightful quotes by Lydia Maria Child. Read More→
Simone de Beauvoir (1908 – 1986) was a French author, existential philosopher, political activist, feminist, and social theorist. Her most enduring work, The Second Sex (1949) is still read and studied as an essential manifesto on women’s oppression and liberation.
Filled with ideas considered radical at the time it was published, the book made her an intellectual force to be reckoned with, and inspired a generation of women to shake up the status quo. Here are quotes from The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir that will make you question how far we’ve come, and how far we still have to go. Read More→
Zora Neale Hurston (1891 – 1960) was a memoirist, novelist, and folklorist who was an active member of the Harlem Renaissance literary movement. She was the first black student to study at Barnard college, and later in her career received a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her most influential works include Their Eyes Were Watching God, Tell My Horse, Mules and Men, and Moses, Man of the Mountain.
Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) is Hurston’s best known work. Always somewhat controversial, discussions and perceptions of the novel have evolved over the decades since it was first published. The story follows Janie Crawford as she matures from a voiceless teenager to a woman with greater control over her own destiny.
The book was largely forgotten by the time of Hurston’s death in 1960, but re-emerged as a classic of twentieth-century literature and a staple in women’s studies courses. Here’s a sampling of quotes from Their Eyes Were Watching God: Read More→
Maud Martha by Gwendolyn Brooks is the only novel by this esteemed and much honored American poet. Published in 1951, its language is both spare and profound; it reads beautifully and poetically without seeming affected. It’s the story of a middle-class, mid-twentieth century black woman leading an ordinary, extraordinary life.
The story opens when Maud Martha is seven, observing the adults around her with wonder and bafflement. The story begins to grip as she enters adulthood, with its dating rituals, love, jealousy, marriage, motherhood, disappointment, loss, contentment and joy. It skims the surface of segregation and bias, and explores familial and neighborly bonds — all within a surprisingly short novel. Read More→