Elizabeth Bowen (June 7, 1899 – February 22, 1973) was an Irish-British novelist and short-story writer best known for fictional works that focused on life in wartime London and relationships among the upper-middle class.
Some have referred to her as the “grande dame” of the modern novel, her work characterized by a conscious, concise style.
Bowen’s work reflects her great interest in “life with the lid on and what happens when the lid comes off.” It examines the innocence of orderly life and irrepressible forces that transforms one’s experience. In her stories and novels, she examines the betrayal and secrets beneath the veneer of respectability.
The 1913 novel Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter is perhaps less familiar now than the lasting expression that grew from its sentimental story.
Most everyone knows what defines a “Pollyanna” — someone who looks at the bright side of things no matter how dire, or who paints an overly optimistic picture of any situation.
Pollyanna, subtitled “The Glad Book,” was incredibly successful from the start, and inspired many adaptations in other media. Though intended as a children’s novel, it appealed to all ages. Read More→
Marianne Moore (November 15, 1887 – February 5, 1972) was a poet who belonged to the American Modernist movement. Her poetry was notable for its wit, irony, and use of syllabic verse. She was also a respected translator.
At right, a 1957 photo of Marianne Moore by the noted photographer Imogen Cunningham.
Politically, Marianne was heavily involved in the women’s suffrage movement in the United States, often supporting the movement anonymously through her writing. She was viewed as a celebrity throughout much of her life, and she received numerous honorary degrees and awards for her works, including the Pulitzer Prize and the National Medal for Literature. Read More→
Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014), the American author, actress, screenwriter, and civil rights activist, was also a prolific poet, publishing collections throughout her writing career. This selection of 10 celebrated poems by Maya Angelou is a sampling spanning nearly three decades of her prolific output.
Angelou is perhaps best known for her 1969 memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. It made literary history as the first nonfiction best-seller by an African-American woman. But her poetry has also broken through academic circles, with poems like “Still I Rise” and “Phenomenal Woman” as part of American literary consciousness.
For a small number of American female journalist-reformers of the 1800s, starting their own newspapers became a matter of necessity. Refused the opportunity to report on matters of importance by male-dominated mainstream newspapers, they took matters into their own hands.
Launching their own newspapers became platforms for raising awareness of the justice issues they fought for.
Anne Newport Royall, Mary Ann Shadd Cary, and Jovita Idár are no longer familiar names; Ida B. Wells (pictured above right) might be better known to those interested in African-American history. But all deserve to be better known and deserve a place of honor as publisher-reformers in an era when women’s voices were more often silenced than heard. Read More→
Marianne Moore (1887 – 1972) isn’t an easy poet to read or digest. Yet the patient and diligent reader will be amply rewarded. Here are 12 poems by Marianne Moore sampled from a long writing career that blossomed in the early 1920s and started even earlier than that.
Moore was a modernist poet who both influenced and was influenced by other modernist poets. In Marianne Moore: A Literary Life, biographer Charles Molesworth, attempted to sum up what made her the poet she came to be, not an easy task: Read More→
“Marriage” is a 1923 modernist poem by Marianne Moore that’s considered one of her most fascinating, yet challenging works. Requiring a great deal of insight to fully appreciate, it’s presented here in full, with links to two excellent and thorough analyses.
Marianne Moore (1887 – 1972 ) has stood the test of time as one of the pre-eminent American poets. Born in St. Louis, she graduated from Bryn Mawr in 1909, and had her first work published in Poetry magazine in 1915. Collected Poems (1951) won a Pulitzer Prize as well as the National Book Award. Read More→
Selma Lagerlöf (November 20, 1858 – March 16, 1940) was a Swedish author who has the distinction of being the first woman ever to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, and the first Swede to win the award.
She was also an active teacher throughout her professional life and in 1914 became the first female admitted to the Swedish Academy.
Once, when asked for her favorite color, Selma answered, “Sunset.” A suitable answer for a woman who more often chose the thrill of a good story over personal adventure, romanticism over realism, and the pleasures of home over traveling afar.