Rosario Castellanos

Rosario Castellanos (born Rosario Castellanos Figueroa; May 25, 1925 – August 7, 1974), author, poet, and diplomat, was one of Mexico’s most influential literary voices of the twentieth century. Her work examined issues of culture and gender in her home country, and went on to influence contemporary Mexican feminist theory and cultural studies.

Castellanos was born in Mexico City and raised near her family’s ranch in Comitán in the southern state of Chiapas near the Guatemalan border. She was quite shy as a child and never completely felt part of her family. A soothsayer once told her mother that one of her two children would die, and she screamed, “Not the boy!”
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Quotes from Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (1905 – 1982) is a 1957 novel by the controversial author known for her Objectivist philosophy. Atlas Shrugged was her fourth and longest novel, her last major work of fiction, and the one she considered her magnum opus. She went on to focus on nonfiction after its publication. Here we’ll explore a selection of quotes from Atlas Shrugged that give a taste of its style and substance.

The novel takes place in a version of the United States where private businesses are suffering due to harsh regulations and laws. Lovers Dagny Taggart and Hank Reardon struggle to fight against looters who are aiming to profit from their productivity.

In their struggle to protect their business, they discover that a strange man named John Galt is attempting to persuade other business owners to leave their companies as a strike against the looters. Towards the end of the novel, the strikers use Galt’s philosophy of reason and individualism to create a new capitalist society.

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Women’s Weird: Strange Stories by Women, 1890 – 1940

Just in time for settling in with a good book in front of the fireplace (or wood stove, or what the heck, even your radiator) on a stormy night, Handheld Press Ltd., based in Bath, England (onetime home of Jane Austen) will be publishing Women’s Weird: Strange Stories by Women, 1890 – 1940. This deliciously thrilling collection will be released, appropriately, on Halloween, October 31, 2019.

Edited by Melissa Edmundson, this compilation of strange tales by women authors — including some lesser-known gems by some of the classic authors on this site — will be of great interest to readers of literary ghosts stories, the supernatural, and other kinds of thrillers. From the publisher: Read More→

The Sundial by Shirley Jackson (1958)

The Sundial by Shirley Jackson

The Sundial by Shirley Jackson (1916 – 1965) was this prolific American author’s fourth novel, published in 1958. It was generally well received, though she had yet to reached her peak as a novelist. Jackson was already famous for her iconic short story, “The Lottery,” and her amusing memoirs of prettied-up domestic life.

After the publication of her masterpiece novels, The Haunting of Hill House (1959) and We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962) Jackson struggled with writer’s block and agoraphobia, as well as a host of physical ailments. She died at age 48, a victim of poor health and habits.

For some decades after her death, her work faded from the reading public’s consciousness (other than the widely anthologized “The Lottery”), but after a renewed interest in her place in the American literary canon, several of her novels, including The Sundial, were reissued. Read More→

Babette’s Feast: The 1958 Short Story by Isak Dinesen, and the 1987 film

Babette's Feast film

It may be fair to say that the acclaimed 1987 film, Babette’s Feast, is better known than the short story by Danish author Isak Dinesen upon which it’s based. In fact, it’s possible that fans of the movie aren’t aware that it’s based on Dinesen’s story, nor even anything about her.

Isak Dinesen (1885 – 1962) was the nom de plume of this writer, best known for her 1937 memoir Out of Africa, which details her life as the owner of a coffee plantation in colonial Kenya. Born Karen Christenze Dinesen into a family of aristocrats, merchants, and landed gentry, she was later known after marriage as Karen von Blixen-Finecke. The marriage conferred on her the title of Baroness, but didn’t last. Her ex-husband’s philandering left her with the lifelong effects of syphilis.

Dinesen eventually had to give up the coffee plantation. She was above all else a storyteller, and her first book, Seven Gothic Tales (1934), was published soon after she returned to Denmark from Africa, broke, and alone. This collection of short stories was a surprise hit both in the U.S. and Europe. Short form fiction remained Dinesen’s mainstay throughout her writing career. Read More→

Radclyffe Hall

Radclyffe Hall

Radclyffe Hall (August 12, 1880 – October 7, 1943), British novelist and poet, is remembered as the author of groundbreaking lesbian literature. Her most enduring work is the controversial 1928 novel The Well of Loneliness. Hall’s struggles with love and identity worked their way into her fiction and contributed to a complicated, often unhappy life.

Born in Bournemouth, Hampshire, Marguerite Radclyffe Hall’s father was a wealthy Englishman with the unusual moniker Radclyffe Radclyffe-Hall, and her mother, Mary Jane Diehl, was American. Her parents’ marriage fell apart when she was quite young due to her father’s continuous philandering and her mother’s mental instability. Her mother’s remarriage to a professor of singing was also fraught with conflict, and young Marguerite was largely ignored. Read More→

10 Interesting Facts about the Brontë Sisters

It would be easy enough to compile interesting facts about the Brontë sisters each in her own right, but here we’ll look at the three together, since their lives were so intertwined. CharlotteEmily, and Anne Brontë, acknowledged literary geniuses, were close in age and with few exceptions, preferred one another’s company above anyone else’s.

The three Brontë sisters all cherished literary ambitions from an early age, and despite lives that were cut short by illness, secured a prominent place in the English literary canon.

The children of Maria Branwell Brontë and Reverend Patrick Brontë, the sisters were born in the West Yorkshire village of Thornton, England. They subsequently moved to Haworth, where they grew up along with their brother Branwell. Their mother died while the children were still very young, and their aunt Branwell moved in to help take care of them. Read More→

10 Fascinating Facts About Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize Winner

Toni Morrison, born Chloe Ardelia Wofford (1931 – 2019), was an American novelist, editor, essayist,  and professor. Widely remembered for her work and achievements, there’s much more about her eventful life that many readers may not be aware of. We’ll explore 10 fascinating facts about Toni Morrison that may give you a glimpse at what shaped her to become the woman and writer that we’ve come to know and love. 

She was born and raised in Lorain, Ohio, in a working-class African-American family that influenced her love and passion for black culture as she grew up hearing folktales, songs, and storytelling. 

Her work spoke to many as it was focused on the black American experience and the struggles that they face. After the creation of the notable works including The Bluest Eye (1970), Sula (1974), Song of Solomon (1977), Tar Baby (1981),  and Beloved (1987), she received an abundance of awards, including the Nobel Prize in Literature (1993), the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and many more.  Read More→

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