|Almond - 20th Century Club Library||1||920.72 R797||Adult NonFiction Book|
|Corning - Southeast Steuben County Library||1||920.72 ROS||Adult NonFiction Book|
|Elmira - Steele Memorial Library||1||920.72 R797||Adult NonFiction Book|
|Hammondsport - Fred and Harriett Taylor Memorial Library||1||920.72 ROS||Adult NonFiction Book|
"This magnificent, handsome, handful of an anthology . . ."* includes sixty-one substantial selections from the twentieth-century literature of women's lives: autobiographies, journals, and memoirs. "As varied in humanity as in geography,"** the women whose life stories are collected here include the famous--Maya Angelou, Maxine Hong Kingston, Anne Frank, Virginia Woolf--and the surprising--Emma Mashinini, a black South African labor organizer; Onnie Lee Logan, an Alabama "granny" midwife; Sara Suleri, an expatriate in America who reflects hilariously on the language of food in her native Pakistan. "Destined to become a classic,"‡ this treasury of women's lives, brimming with intelligence, passion, wit, and determination, is a celebration of life itself. * ** ‡
Of her approach to biography, Rose has said: "Most people think of a biographer as somebody who accumulates facts about people's lives. . . . But I think of myself as somebody who puts the facts of people's lives into different contexts, or emphasizes shape somehow, and puts facts into new structures." A feminist critic, Rose's work has focused primarily on the lives of women. In Women of Letters: A Life of Virginia Woolf (1978), which was nominated for a National Book Award, Rose explores the relationship among Woolf's writing, recurring bouts of mental illness, and sexuality. Her most popular work to date has been Parallel Lives: Five Victorian Marriages (1983), a highly readable and penetrating study of the marriages of several famous nineteenth-century writers. Her latest biography Jazz Cleopatra (1989), is a compelling study of the jazz singer and performer Josephine Baker. A collection of essays, Never Say Goodby, was published in 1991.
Respected critic and biographer Rose has selected excerpts from the autobiographies, memoirs, or journals of 61 twentieth-century women. This literary assemblage reflects the flowering of autobiographical writing as women moved from protective abstractions to careful candor and, finally, full confession. Rose has focussed primarily on women writers, but she has also included women from other walks of life who took the time to record their life story. In the first category we find such inevitable names as Virginia Woolf and Anais Nin, but also M. F. K. Fisher, Colette, Joan Didion, Zora Neale Hurston, Mary McCarthy, Nina Berberova, Audre Lorde, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Kate Simon. The second group includes Nien Cheng (author of Life and Death in Shanghai, 1987), Bernadette Devlin, Billie Holiday, Emma Mashinini (a black South African activist), and Carolina Maria de Jesus, a poor, nearly uneducated Brazilian woman who kept a diary of her struggle to support her three children in one of her country's worst slums. Clearly, Rose has achieved cultural and social diversity in this anthology, which is destined to become a standard in collections of this highly valued genre. ~--Donna Seaman
Library Journal Review
Because of the breadth and richness of these 61 selections, which demonstrate the evolution of women's autobiographical writing, this anthology is destined to become a classic. Works of the famous, i.e., Helen Keller and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, are interspersed with those not publicly known. There are landmark passages from Anne Frank, Mary McCarthy, and Anais Nin, women whose names are synonymous with the diary form. Many passages represent the experiences of political activists like Bernadette Devlin. The collection is multicultural in scope, ranging, for example, from the poetry of Maya Angelou in the United States to the oral autobiography of Nisa, an African tribal member. The emphasis is upon experience rather than literary quality, resulting in the inclusion of passages not readily available elsewhere. The selections are alphabetically arranged, and the introductory material about each author helpfully refers the reader to related passages. Recommended for public and academic library collections.-- Mary Ellen Beck, Troy P.L., N.Y. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.