Conflicting stories : American women writers at the turn into the twentieth century /

The early 1890s through the late 1920s saw an explosion in the serious long fiction by women in the United States. Considering a wide range of authors--African American, Asian American, white American, and Native American--this book looks at the work of seventeen writers from that period: Frances El...

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Main Author: Ammons, Elizabeth. (Author)
Format: Book
Published:New York : Oxford University Press, 1991.
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Review by Choice Review

Ammons (Tufts University) presents a useful and at times pioneering analysis of turn-of-the-century American women writers. Arguing that their fiction forms "a diverse yet unified body of work," Ammons depicts these "Progressive Era women writers" as "clearly breaking with the past, and the major break. . .consisted in their avowed ambition, with few exceptions, to be artists" rather than professional writers, as their 19th-century predecessors had viewed themselves. The 17 writers discusseds are diverse in terms of ethnicity, race, and class. Ammons acknowledges this diversity in various ways, some of which represent a significant departure from earlier studies of these writers. For example, she attends to the racism by commission and omission in the work of white feminists such as Chopin, Gilman, Stein, and Cather. Additionally, she reads texts by African American, Chinese American, and Native American women to reveal their critique of the racism of white feminists. Her analysis, achieved in part by her juxtaposition within chapters of artists from different traditions, is persuasive and goes a long way to achieve her stated goal for this project: "the need to understand the relationship between the literary past of women of color and that of white women. . .that race in combination with gender be recognized and analyzed." Strongly recommended for undergraduate and graduate collections.-E. R. Baer, Washington College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

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