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Texas Women Writers: A Tradition of Their Own

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In 1893, a literary critic in the Galveston Daily News lamented that the many women writers in the state, "women of noble talents," had largely gone unnoticed by the literary industry. Her lament has reverberated throughout the past century, as women's letters in Texas have been further marginalized by the male canonmakers who paid tribute to the Texas Mystique—oil derricks, cowboys, and the Alamo: masculine western icons that shaped a region's literature.

Texas Women Writers: A...

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Overview

In 1893, a literary critic in the Galveston Daily News lamented that the many women writers in the state, "women of noble talents," had largely gone unnoticed by the literary industry. Her lament has reverberated throughout the past century, as women's letters in Texas have been further marginalized by the male canonmakers who paid tribute to the Texas Mystique—oil derricks, cowboys, and the Alamo: masculine western icons that shaped a region's literature.

Texas Women Writers: A Tradition of Their Own is a sweeping account of a rich yet largely ignored literary history covering over 160 years of women's writing in the Lone Star State. Their writings vary widely in theme, setting, and voice; nevertheless these writers share a distinct tradition that is in part defined by their isolation due to both geography and gender and is wholly different from their male counterparts'.

The survey begins with pioneer diarists who chronicled their experiences on the Texas frontier, and it ends with the postmodernists and a glimpse of the new directions in which Texas' women writers are now heading. In between are critical-biographical portraits of the lives and careers of individual writers both major and minor: from novelists, dramatists, and poets, to writers of short stories, children's books, and creative nonfiction. The survey covers the developmental history of major genres in the region and chronologically reviews each generation and the particular challenges of time and place that shaped their work. The careers of African American and Tejana writers are also examined as part of newly emerging literary traditions.

Edited by Lou Halsell Rodenberger and Sylvia Ann Grider, this volume brings together a host of contributors comprising some of the region's most prominent scholar-writers. The editors also list primary and important secondary material in perhaps the most comprehensive bibliography ever devoted to Texas women's literature. Texas Women Writers will introduce many readers to a vibrant literary tradition that is unique to the Texas experience.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Lou Halsell Rodenberger is professor of English at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas.Sylvia Ann Grider is associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at Texas A&M University. Both have written extensively on the lives and careers of Texas women writers.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction 3
Pt. 1 Prose Writers 47
The Pioneers, 1830-1920 49
"The Astonishing Proportions": Nonfiction Literature, 1830-1920 51
Fiction by Texas Women, 1846-1920 68
The Innovators, 1920-60 78
Mabel Major 82
Karle Wilson Baker and Charlotte Baker Montgomery 87
Ruth Cross 94
Loula Grace Erdman 100
Jewel Gibson 106
Elithe Hamilton Kirkland 116
Katherine Anne Porter 124
Dorothy Scarborough 134
The Professionals, 1960-95 141
Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey 143
Laura Furman, Beverly Lowry, and Shelby Hearon 148
Jane Gilmore Rushing 160
Carolyn Osborn 166
A Reflection of Place and History: The Short Story 172
Let the Works Define the Field: Contemporary Creative Nonfiction 189
Well-Told Tales: Children's Book Writers 198
Pt. 2 Tejana and African-American Writers 203
Ever Radical: A Survey of Tejana Writers 207
A Developing Tradition: African-American Writers 247
Literary Traditions in Works by African-American Playwrights 253
Pt. 3 Poets 257
From Lady to Laureate: Texas Women Poets, 1836-1936 263
The Buried Life: Texas Women Poets, 1920-60 286
Exploring the New Psychic Geography: Vassar Miller, Jan Epton Seale, and Sandra Lynn 294
Three Contemporary Poets: Naomi Shihab Nye, Pattiann Rogers, and Betsy Feagan Colquitt 310
Pt. 4 Dramatists 321
Emerging from the Wings: Texas Women Dramatists 325
Pt. 5 Symposium 339
Judyth Rigler 341
Judy Alter 345
Fran Vick 348
Jane Tanner 352
Nancy Baker Jones 354
Bibliography 359
List of Contributors 433
Index 439
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