Biographical & Bibliographical Notes
Born May 27, 1907 in Springdale, Pennsylvania, Carson was a science writer and biologist well known for her writings on environmental pollution and the natural history of the sea. A deep interest in wildlife from her childhood led Ms Carson to a long career with the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, later the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In 1951 she published The Sea Around Us, which won the National Book Award. Her prophetic and influential Silent Spring (1962) created a worldwide awareness of the dangers of environmental pollution. Presidential Medal of Freedom, 1980.
Sor Juana, as she is commonly called, lived from 1651-1695 and was a true genius. The illegitimate child of a Spanish courtesan and a Creole woman, she spent her early years in San Miguel de Nepantla, just outside of Mexico City. At age nine she mastered Latin in twenty lessons. By the age of sixteen, already honored for her intellectual gifts, she was regularly reading to the court from her own works, taking questions from those in attendance. Born Juana Inez de Asbaje y Ramirez de Santillana, she joined a convent after a heart-breaking love affair dissolved. She was a poet, a scholar, a feminist, and was the first important literary figure of the New World. She became known as "The Tenth Muse," "the Phoenix of Mexico, and "the Mexican Nun."
Born on December 10, 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts, she began to write poetry when she was about fifteen. By the time she was twenty she'd become quite serious about her writing. Her most frequent themes were nature, love and death. When she wasn't writing she was tending her garden or baking bread and cakes for the household. She was particularly influenced by the English novelist Emily Bronte and the American philosopher-poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson. She was known to the locals as an eccentric recluse, but she kept up a lively and wonderful correspondence with several good friends all her life as well as having written 1,775 poems! While these special few friends knew of her great talent, she was not known to the world as she is now--as one of the greatest masters of the short lyric poem. She died on May 15, 1886 having had only seven poems published!
Born in Hamburg in 1645 into a prominent patrician family, she was married off to Chayim (asa Chaim) of Hameln at fourteen. She became Chayim's adviser in all practical matters, even while bearing and raising their twelve children. After his death in 1689, though carrying on his business and financial enterprises, she became depressed. In an attempt to overcome her loss, she wrote a diary, a memoir of her life, begun when she was forty- six. Glückel's writings became incredibly important to historians because they are the only surviving Jewish document about that period written by a woman.
Hellman's childhood was spent alternately with her father's family in New Orleans' Garden District, where she was born on June 20, 1905, and her mother's family, the upper middle class Newhouses of New York. In 1925 she was a reader of film scenarios in Hollywood, where she met Dashiell Hammett, with whom she remained attached romantically and professionally until his death in 1960. In 1952, subpoenaed to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee, her famous response was: "I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions." She won two Drama Critics Circle Awards and, for her first memoir, An Unfinished Woman (1969), a National Book Award. A screenwriter as well, she also wrote the book for the 1957 musical Candide, for which Leonard Bernstein composed the music. Hellman was one of the first internationally known women playwrights. She died of cardiac arrest on June 30, 1984, at her summer home in Martha's Vineyard.
The author of eight novels, she is best known for Fear of Flying: in print in 27 languages, it has sold approximately 12 million copies worldwide. Also a poet, Jong has taught literature and writing at several universities and has received many honors. Born Emily Mann in 1942 and raised on Manhattan's Upper West Side, she attended New York's prestigious High School of Music and Art, Barnard College and Columbia University, where she earned her M.A. in Eighteenth-century English Literature. Jong lives in New York City and Weston, Connecticut.
Also known as La belle Amazone and La belle Cordière (The Beautiful Ropemaker), she was, when she served in disguise in the army, also known as Captain Lays. The French poet and early feminist was born in 1524 or 25. Her Oeuvres were published in 1555 by the noted Lyonnais printer Jean de Tournes. Despite her parents’ illiteracy, she was clearly educated--probably at a convent--and knew Italian, Latin and music. She was married to a robemaker, but seems to have spent much of her time in the company of other poets and artists. Her Oeuvres include two prose works: a feminist preface, urging women to write, and a dramatic allegory. Her poetry consists of three elegies and twenty-four sonnets. The sonnets, remarkable for their frank eroticism, have been her most famous works following the early modern period, and were translated into German by Rainer Maria Rilke. Labé died in 1566.
Born in 1849 in New York City, she is best know for her sonnet about America, "The New Colossus," engraved on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. Her interest in Jewish problems was awakened by George Eliot's novel, Daniel Deronda, and was reinforced by the Russian pogroms of 1881–82. Inspired, she began publishing translations of the great medieval Spanish-Jewish poets. Her essays in Century Magazine in reply to anti-Semitic attacks praised her fellow Jews as pioneers of progress and expressed her joy in belonging to a people who were the victims rather than the perpetrators of massacres. She died in 1887
A prolific writer whose social themes range from sexual identity to multiculturalism to socio-economics and more. Her works have been noted as "anthropological," due to the detail of landscape and daily life she creates in alien cultures. Both her father and her grandfather were anthropologists, and her mother wrote a biography of her grandfather, so it has been a strong influence. Her works have garnered several Hugo and Nebula awards, the Gandalf Grand Master award in 1979 and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Grand Master Award in 2003. Her novel The Farthest Shore won the National Book Award for Children's Books in 1973.
The American poet and dramatist who came to personify romantic rebellion and bravado in the 1920s, Millay was born in the small town of Rockland, Main on February 22, 1892. She grew up in Camden, Maine and her poetry is filled with imagery of the sea and the mountains of her childhood home. When she was eighteen she completed a long poem, Renascence, published in The Lyric Year in 1912, which catapulted her to fame. One of the quatrains included in her first book, Renascence and Other Poems (1917), almost became a slogan for the day: "My candle burns at both its ends/It will not last the night/ But ah my foes, and oh my friends/It sheds a lovely light." In addition to her several books of poetry, she wrote some well-produced plays as well as an opera. Her marriage to a Dutch businessman, despite their devotion to one another, did not seem to affect the several love affairs both enjoyed. They purchased a farm in Austerlitz, New York, dubbed Steepletop, now a writers' colony. Millay died there on October 19, 1950.
Born Lucila Godoy Alcayaga in the small Chilean town of Vicuña, of Spanish, Basque and Indian descent, Mistral was the first Latin-American ever to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 1945. She was also a cultural minister and diplomat, who served posts in Madrid, Lisbon, Genoa and Nice. An educator who worked untiringly to improve the her country's schools, Mistral's principal themes as a poet were love of children and of the downtrodden. Today there is no country in Latin America that does not have several schools bearing her name, a name the poet assumed, derived from two of her favorite poets: the Italian, Gabriele d'Annunzio and the Frenchman, Frederic Mistral. Her childhood sweetheart was a railway clerk. He committed suicide -- shot himself -- because of a misappropriation of funds. One of her biographers stated, "The echo of that shot was the birth of the poet, Gabriela Mistral." She never married. She died in 1957 in New York City. In her will, Gabriela left her Latin American royalties to the children of her native village of Elqui, in the valley of Montegrande, and asked to be buried there because she hoped that thus the children of this poor and isolated mountain hamlet might never be forgotten by her country.
The highly accomplished writer was born in New York City on April 17, 1928. Her parents, pharmacists, were Russian immigrants who embraced the Litvak tradition of skepticism, rationalism, and antimysticism--as opposed to the exuberant emotionalism of the Hasidic community. At the age of five, Ozick entered heder for religious instruction where the rabbi told her bobe, "Take her home; a girl doesn't have to study." Ozick is especially grateful to her grandmother for bringing her back to school the very next day, insisting that she be accepted, dates her feminism to that time. Some of her works have included The Pagan Rabbi and Other Stories, The Puttermesser Papers and Fame and Folly: Essays. Ozick has won half a dozen coveted awards and grants, including both a Guggenheim and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. She has received several honorary doctorates and was invited to deliver the Phi Beta Kappa Oration at Harvard University.
Born in New York City in 1922, she studied at Hunter College and New York University. She taught at Columbia and Syracuse Universities during the 1960s, then became a teacher at Sarah Lawrence College. Early in her career she was a poet, but she is most noted for her mastery of the short story form, for which she has received many honors. A feminist and peace activist, she lives in New York City and Thetford, Vermont. Her works have included Enormous Changes at the Last Minute, Later the Same Day, and Just As I Thought. She was the first recipient of the Edith Wharton Citation of Merit, has received a Guggenheim fellowship (1961), a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (1966), an award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters (1970), and Senior Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts, in recognition of her lifetime contribution to literature (1987).
leading figure in the school of naturalism and an important Spanish novelist, and a noted stateswoman. When her feminist opinions began to manifest themselves, literary critics of the time criticized her harshly. She never yielded to their pressure and maintained the conviction that her own upper social class could be greatly improved. In 1916, five years before her death at the age of sixty-nine, a statue was erected in Pardo-Bazan's honor in La Coruna, the city of her birth.
She was born in 1893 to a Jewish father (Rothschild) and a Scottish mother who died when Parker was five years old; her father remarried a strict Roman Catholic, whom Dorothy bitterly disliked. Parker always maintained an image of herself as an outsider and often said of herself that she was "just a little Jewish girl trying to be cute." Her first volume of poetry, Enough Rope (1926), became an instant best-seller. She became a core member of the celebrated "Algonquin Round Table." Her acerbic and irreverent sense of humor marked Parker's work with uniqueness and made it memorable. She died in 1967.
One of Zionism and modern Judaism's heroes, Senesh (or Szenes) was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1921. Her father was a playwright and journalist who died when she was six. At the time of Kristallnacht, Senesh volunteered for the Haganah (underground Jewish self-defense army). In June 1944, she parachuted into Yugoslavia near the Hungarian border, was captured, brutally imprisoned, then murdered by a firing squad at the age of 23. Her poems, made famous in part because of her tragic death, reveal a woman imbued with hope even in the face of adverse circumstances.
A Lady of the Court who lived from 974 to around 1031. She was a poet, a diarist, and probably the world's first novelist. she served as lady-in-waiting to Empress Akiko. Her great-grandfather, Fujiwara no Kanesuke, was a well-known poet, and her daughter, Daini Sanmi, became a well-known poet too.
The ground breaking writings experiments of Stein reflect her genius for toying with language and its meanings. She hails from Allegheny, Pennsylvania, where she was born in 1874, the seventh child of German immigrants. By age seventeen both her parents had died. She earned a B.A. magna cum laude at the Harvard Annex (later Radcliffe College), then studied briefly at Johns Hopkins Medical School. In 1903 she and her brother Leo left for Paris and the art world. The close relationship folded upon Leo's awareness of his sister's lesbianism. Alice B. Toklas became Gertrude's lifelong companion, and their home became a hub for some of the greatest artists and writers of the modern era. In addition to her many books, like The Making of Americans, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, and Everybody's Autobiography, she wrote over seventy-six operas and plays, winning an Obie in 1964 for Four Saints in Three Acts . She died in 1946.
Born in 1892, reportedly, until 1983. Best known as a comic vamp actor in film, West was also a playwright, a scenarist, a stage producer, and an author. She believed in a liberated attitude toward men and women and the relations between them, and was willing to risk jail to put her ideas, in the context of fun and entertainment, on stage.