Better Red: The Writing and Resistance of Tillie Olsen and Meridel Le Sueur

Better Red: The Writing and Resistance of Tillie Olsen and Meridel Le Sueur

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by Constance Coiner
     
 

Better Red is an interdisciplinary study addressing the complicated intersection of American feminism and the political left as refracted in Tillie Olsen's and Meridel Le Sueur's lives and literary texts. The first book-length study to explore these feminist writers' ties to the American Communist Party, it contributes to a reenvisioning of 1930s U.S. Communism as

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Overview

Better Red is an interdisciplinary study addressing the complicated intersection of American feminism and the political left as refracted in Tillie Olsen's and Meridel Le Sueur's lives and literary texts. The first book-length study to explore these feminist writers' ties to the American Communist Party, it contributes to a reenvisioning of 1930s U.S. Communism as well as to efforts to promote working-class writing as a legitimate category of literary analysis. At once loyal members of the male-dominated Communist party and emerging feminists, Olsen and Le Sueur exhibit in their writing tendencies both toward and away from Party tenets and attitudes—at points subverting formalist as well as orthodox Marxist literary categories. By producing working-class discourse, Olsen and Le Sueur challenge the bourgeois assumptions—often masked as classless and universal—of much canonical literature; and by creating working-class women's writing, they problematize the patriarchal nature of the Left and the masculinist assumptions of much proletarian literature, anticipating the concerns of "second wave" feminists a generation later.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195056952
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
03/30/1995
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.38(w) x 9.56(h) x 1.08(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction3
1The Thirties' Literary Left15
2"Scratch a Communist ...": Women and the American Communist Party During the Depression39
3Meridel Le Sueur: Biographical Sketch and Reportage72
4Le Sueur's The Girl, "Our Fathers," "Annunciation," and "Corn Village"108
5Tillie Olsen: Biographical Sketch and Thirties' Publications141
6Olsen's Yonnondio: From the Thirties174
7Literature as "No One's Private Ground": Olsen's Tell Me a Riddle and Silences192
Conclusion226
Notes241
Works Cited261
Index275

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