Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe by George Eliot (1861)

Silas Marner by George Eliot

Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe was the third novel of George Eliot (1819 – 1880). Published in 1861, this novel, like others written by the esteemed British author (whose real name was Mary Ann Evans), addresses a number of social themes while telling a compelling story.

Silas Marner, a rather simple man, is betrayed by a trusted friend who accuses him of a crime he didn’t commit. This leads to his expulsion from a religious community that he has loved being a part of. He relocates to a remote village called Raveloe where he has no friends or family, and where the community eyes him suspiciously due to his odd nature. Read More→

South Moon Under by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1933)

South Moon Under by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was this author’s first novel, published in 1933. She struggled to gain any traction in her writing career until she and her first husband bought an orange grove in Cross Creek, Florida.

She was fascinated by the locals of Cross Creek,  poor white natives of the area who were called “crackers” in the vernacular of the time. At first wary of this Northerner, they eventually warmed to her as she gained their trust. Once she began weaving the dialect,  flora and fauna, and foodways of the people of the “big scrub” into her writing, she finally found success. Read More→

The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1938)

The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

The Yearling, a 1938 novel by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1896 – 1953), was the most successful work by this American author. It was an immediate bestseller and won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1939.

Rawlings struggled to gain a foothold in the literary world and made no secret that she found writing to be a difficult task. After buying an orange grove in Cross Creek, Florida, where she subsequently lived for many decades, she found the inspiration she had long sought from the local culture and  landscape.

The Yearling might now be considered more of a young adult novel, though at the time, this was not yet a separate genre. However, it’s a book for readers of all ages. It can be enjoyed as a great narrative coming-of-age story, or read as a parable. Read More→

6 Poems by Julia de Burgos about Love and Identity

Julia de Burgos, born Julia Constanza Burgos Garcia (February 17, 1914 – July 6, 1953), was a Puerto Rican poet, feminist, and civil rights activist for women and African/Afro-Caribbean writers.

After Burgos was awarded a scholarship to attend University High School in 1928, her family moved to Rio Piedras, which would influence her later on to write her first work, Rio Grande de Loiza. The writings of Luis Llorens Torres, Clara Lair, Rafael Alberti, and Pablo Neruda were among some of the people who influenced her career as a young poet.

By the early 1930s, Burgos had already become a published writer in journals and newspapers and she traveled all over Puerto Rico to give book readings. Much of her work contained a collection of the intimate, land, and social struggles of those oppressed on the island as well as her work personal struggles concerning her complicated love life. Read More→

Quotes from The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1938)

The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1938)

For many years, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings desperately wanted to break into the literary world, she tried writing the kinds of stories she thought editors were looking for. Mostly, she racked up rejections. The Yearling, published in 1938, was the result of a radical change in her lifestyle and locale, as she immersed herself in an environment that was quite different from where she came from. Here, we’ll sample a selection of quotes from The Yearling, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ crowning literary achievement.

After moving to Florida and buying a remote and rustic orange grove in Cross Creek in the late 1920s, she began to follow the well-worn dictate to “write what you know.” She wrote about the hardscrabble life Florida’s backwoods and her characters were inspired by her neighbors — though it must be said that they regarded this interloper warily. Read More→

The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin (1894) – full text

“The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin (1850 – 1904) is a short story that was originally published on December 6, 1894 in Vogue magazine under the title “The Dream of an Hour.” This story, which appeared in St. Louis Life the following year as “The Story of an Hour,” has been much anthologized and is still studied. Like Chopin’s best-known work, the 1899 novella The Awakening, this story was controversial when it first appeared.

The story’s main character, Louise Mallard, who has a weak heart, learns that her husband has died in an accident. The hour referred to in the title is the time that elapses after she receives this news. At first, Louise collapses into her sister’s arms, but then, when she is alone with her thoughts, she whispers, “Free! Body and soul free!” Rather than feeling devastated, she feels quite liberated. Read More→

Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich, feminist poet

Adrienne Rich (May 16, 1929 – March 27, 2012)  was an American poet and essayist known for her radical feminism and activism. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, she was raised in a family that included a younger sister. Her father who worked as a pathologist at John Hopkins, and her mother was a classical concert pianist. It was her father who first encouraged her literary leanings.

After graduating from Roland Park Country School, Rich attended Radcliffe College (the former women’s college of Harvard University), from which she graduated in 1951. Right before she graduated, Rich received the Yale Series of Younger Poets award for her first collection of poetry, A Change of World. The esteemed poet W.H. Auden selected Rich for the prestigious prize. Read More→

A Jury of Her Peers by Susan Glaspell (1917) – full text

A Jury of Her Peers by Susan Glaspell

A Jury of Her Peers by Susan Glaspell (1876 – 1948), a 1917 short story, is arguably this American author’s most enduring work. Certainly, it’s one of her most anthologized. It grew from her 1916 one-act play, Trifles (you can also read the full text of Trifles here), also a widely anthologized work.

Both Trifles and A Jury of Her Peers were inspired by a true crime story that Glaspell covered as a reporter for theDes Moines Daily News in 1900. The murder of John Hossack, a 59-year-old Iowa farmer, was a local sensation because the suspect was his wife Margaret. Because it was suspected that Mrs. Hossack was abused by her husband, it was also assumed that she had motive, and so she was arrested and charged. Read More→

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