Silences / Edition 1

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First published in 1978, Silences single-handedly revolutionized the literary canon. In this classic work, now back in print, Olsen broke open the study of literature and discovered a lost continent—the writing of women and working-class people. From the excavated testimony of authors’ letters and diaries we learn the many ways the creative spirit, especially in those disadvantaged by gender, class and race, can be silenced. Olsen recounts the torments of Melville, the crushing weight of criticism on Thomas Hardy, the shame that brought Willa Cather to a dead halt, and struggles of Virginia Woolf, Olsen’s heroine and greatest exemplar of a writer who confronted the forces that would silence her. This 25th-anniversary edition includes Olsen’s now infamous reading lists of forgotten authors and a new introduction and author preface.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558614406
  • Publisher: Feminist Press at CUNY, The
  • Publication date: 4/1/2003
  • Edition description: Anniversar
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 1,297,594
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Activist and author Tillie Olsen is best known for her prize-winning fiction Tell Me a Riddle and Yonnondio: From the Thirties. She has taught at MIT, Stanford, and Amherst. Olsen is an recipient of an Award for Distinguished Contribution to American Literature from the American Academy and the National Institute of Arts and Letters.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic: The Lessons Silences Has Taught Us
Silences in Literature - 1962 5
One Out of Twelve: Writers Who Are Women in Our Century - 1971 22
Rebecca Harding Davis - 1971, 1972 47
Silences of the Great in Achievement 122
Silences - Its Varieties 142
The Work of Creation and the Circumstances It Demands for Full Functioning 152
Subterranean Forces - And the Work of Creation in Circumstances Enabling Full Function 159
When the Claims of Creation Cannot Be Primary 163
The Literary Situation (1976) 167
Blight - Its Earliest Expression 178
A Sense of Wrong Voiced 179
Literacy 184
One Out of Twelve - The Figures 186
The Baby; the Girl-Child; the Girl; the Young Writer-Woman 194
The Damnation of Women 199
The Angel in the House 213
Freeing the Essential Angel 217
Wives, Mothers, Enablers 218
Blight. The Hidden Silencer - Breakdown 224
Hidden Blight - Professional Circumstances 228
Hidden Blight - Some Effects of Having to Counter and Encounter Harmful Treatment and Circumstances 248
Other Obstacles, Balks, Encumbrances in Coming to One's Own
Voice, Vision, Circumference 256
Creativity; Potentiality. First Generation 261
Excerpts from Life in the Iron Mills 265
Miscellany 284
Excerpts from My Heart Laid Bare 287
Tillie Olsen's Reading Lists 291
Permissions Acknowledgments 303
Index 307
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