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Books > Language & Literature > Literature: history & criticism > Literary studies > General

New Approaches to Gone with the Wind (Hardcover): James A Crank New Approaches to Gone with the Wind (Hardcover)
James A Crank
R789 Discovery Miles 7 890 Shipped within 7 - 11 working days
A very serious thing - Women's humor and American culture (Paperback): Nancy A Walker A very serious thing - Women's humor and American culture (Paperback)
Nancy A Walker
R1,068 Discovery Miles 10 680 Shipped within 7 - 11 working days

"A Very Serious Thing "was first published in 1988. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

"It is a very serious thing to be a funny woman." -Frances Miriam Berry Whitcher

"A Very Serious Thing" is the first book-length study of a part of American literature that has been consistently neglected by scholars and underrepresented in anthologies--American women's humorous writing. Nancy Walker proposes that the American humorous tradition to be redefined to include women's humor as well as men's, because, contrary to popular opinion, women do have a sense of humor.

Her book draws on history, sociology, anthropology, literature, and psychology to posit that the reasons for neglect of women's humorous expression are rooted in a male-dominated culture that has officially denied women the freedom and self-confidence essential to the humorist. Rather than a study of individual writers, the book is an exploration of relationships between cultural realities--including expectations of "true womanhood"--and women's humorous response to those realities.

Humorous expression, Walker maintains, is at odds with the culturally sanctioned ideal of the "lady," and much of women's humor seems to accept, while actually denying, this ideal. In fact, most of American women's humorous writing has been a feminist critique of American culture and its attitudes toward women, according to the author.

Jerusalem - City of the Book (Hardcover): Merav Mack, Benjamin Balint Jerusalem - City of the Book (Hardcover)
Merav Mack, Benjamin Balint; Photographs by Fr ed eric Brenner
R551 R405 Discovery Miles 4 050 Save R146 (26%) Shipped within 7 - 11 working days

A captivating journey through the hidden libraries of Jerusalem, where some of the world's most enduring ideas were put into words In this enthralling book, Merav Mack and Benjamin Balint explore Jerusalem's libraries to tell the story of this city as a place where some of the world's most enduring ideas were put into words. The writers of Jerusalem, although renowned the world over, are not usually thought of as a distinct school; their stories as Jerusalemites have never before been woven into a single narrative. Nor have the stories of the custodians, past and present, who safeguard Jerusalem's literary legacies. By showing how Jerusalem has been imagined by its writers and shelved by its librarians, Mack and Balint tell the untold history of how the peoples of the book have populated the city with texts. In their hands, Jerusalem itself-perched between East and West, antiquity and modernity, violence and piety-comes alive as a kind of labyrinthine library.

Imagined Frontiers - Contemporary America and Beyond (Paperback): Carl Abbott Imagined Frontiers - Contemporary America and Beyond (Paperback)
Carl Abbott
R462 Discovery Miles 4 620 Shipped within 7 - 11 working days
Narrative Theory - A Critical Introduction (Paperback): Kent Puckett Narrative Theory - A Critical Introduction (Paperback)
Kent Puckett
R437 Discovery Miles 4 370 Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

Kent Puckett's Narrative Theory: A Critical Introduction provides an account of a methodology increasingly central to literary studies, film studies, history, psychology and beyond. In addition to introducing readers to some of the field's major figures and their ideas, Puckett situates critical and philosophical approaches towards narrative within a longer intellectual history. The book reveals one of narrative theory's founding claims - that narratives need to be understood in terms of a formal relation between story and discourse, between what they narrate and how they narrate it - both as a necessary methodological distinction and as a problem characteristic of modern thought. Puckett thus shows that narrative theory is not only a powerful descriptive system but also a complex and sometimes ironic form of critique. Narrative Theory offers readers an introduction to the field's key figures, methods and ideas, and it also reveals that field as unexpectedly central to the history of ideas.

A Tour on the Prairies (Paperback): Washington Irving A Tour on the Prairies (Paperback)
Washington Irving; Volume editing by John Francis McDermott; John Francis McDermott
R357 R288 Discovery Miles 2 880 Save R69 (19%) Shipped within 7 - 11 working days

In 1832, Washington Irving, recently returned from seventeen years' residence abroad and eager to explore his own country, embarked on an expedition to the country west of Arkansas set aside for the Indians. "A Tour on the Prairies" is his absorbing account of that journey, which extended from Fort Gibson to the Cross Timbers in what is now Oklahoma. First published in 1835, it has remained a perennial favorite, retaining its original freshness, vigor, and vividness to this day.

Fionn Mac Cumhaill - Celtic Myth in English Literature (Paperback, New): James MacKillop Fionn Mac Cumhaill - Celtic Myth in English Literature (Paperback, New)
James MacKillop
R315 R258 Discovery Miles 2 580 Save R57 (18%) Shipped within 7 - 11 working days
Who Wants to Be a Jewish Writer? - And Other Essays (Hardcover): Adam Kirsch Who Wants to Be a Jewish Writer? - And Other Essays (Hardcover)
Adam Kirsch
R470 R347 Discovery Miles 3 470 Save R123 (26%) Shipped within 7 - 11 working days

From one of today's keenest critics comes a collection of essays on poetry, religion, and the connection between the two Adam Kirsch is one of today's finest literary critics. This collection brings together his essays on poetry, religion, and the intersections between them, with a particular focus on Jewish literature. He explores the definition of Jewish literature, the relationship between poetry and politics, and the future of literary reputation in the age of the internet. Several essays look at the way Jewish writers such as Stefan Zweig and Isaac Deutscher, who coined the phrase "the non-Jewish Jew," have dealt with politics. Kirsch also examines questions of spirituality and morality in the writings of contemporary poets, including Christian Wiman, Kay Ryan, and Seamus Heaney. He closes by asking why so many American Jewish writers have resisted that category, inviting us to consider "Is there such a thing as Jewish literature?"

Degrees of Fidelity: Essays on Poetry and the Latitudes of the Personal (Paperback): Stephen Dunn Degrees of Fidelity: Essays on Poetry and the Latitudes of the Personal (Paperback)
Stephen Dunn
R331 Discovery Miles 3 310 Shipped within 7 - 11 working days
Lektureschlussel Die Leiden Des Jungen Werther (Paperback): Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe Lektureschlussel Die Leiden Des Jungen Werther (Paperback)
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
R111 R105 Discovery Miles 1 050 Save R6 (5%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days
African Lit in Twentieth Cent Pb (Book, Minnesota Archi): D.A. Thorne African Lit in Twentieth Cent Pb (Book, Minnesota Archi)
D.A. Thorne
R1,276 Discovery Miles 12 760 Shipped within 7 - 11 working days

"African Literature in the Twentieth Century " was first published in 1976. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

This paperback makes available the major part of Professor Dathorne's "The Black Mind."It concentrates on the writings of Africans in various African and European languages and provides insight, both broad and deep, into the Black intellect. Professor Dathorne examines the literature of Africans as spoken or written in their local languages and in French, Portuguese, and English. This extensive survey and interpretation gives the reader a remarkable pathway to an understanding of the Black imagination and its relevance to thought and creativity throughout the world.

The author himself lived in Africa for ten years, and his view is not that of an outsider, since it is as a Black man that he speaks about Black people. Throughout the book, a major theme is the demonstration that, despite slavery and colonialism, Africans remained very close to their own cultures. Professor Dathorne shows that African writers may be, like some Afro-American writers, "marginal men," but that they are Black men and it is as Black men that they feel the nostalgia of their past and the corrosive influences of their present.

O. R. Dathorne is a member of the Department of Black Studies and of the Department of English at Ohio State University. He has taught at universities in Nigeria and Sierra Leone and served as a UNESCO adviser in Sierra Leone. He also has taught at Ohio State University, Howard University, and the University of Wisconsin and lectured at Yale, Federal City College, Michigan State, and other universities in and out of the United States. He is the author of two novels and editor of a number of anthologies of Black literature, and has written widely in journals on his subject.

Civilising Grass - The Art Of The Lawn On The South African Highveld (Paperback): Jonathan Cane Civilising Grass - The Art Of The Lawn On The South African Highveld (Paperback)
Jonathan Cane
R380 R295 Discovery Miles 2 950 Save R85 (22%) Pre-order

What does the lawn want? To be watered, fertilised, mowed, admired, fretted over, ignored? This unusual question serves as a starting point for Civilising Grass: The Art of the Lawn on the South African Highveld, an unexpected and often disconcerting critique of one of the most common and familiar landscapes in South Africa. The lawn, Jonathan Cane argues, is not quite as innocent as we might think. Besides the fact that lawns suck up scarce water, consume chemicals, displace indigenous plants and reduce biodiversity, they are also part of a colonial lineage of dispossession and violence. They reduce the political problem of land to the aesthetic question of landscape, thereby obscuring issues of ownership, redress, belonging and labour. The question then becomes: Who takes care of whose lawn, in what clothes, under what conditions and for what reward?

Civilising Grass offers a detailed reading of artistic, literary and architectural lawns between 1886 and 2017. The eclectic archive includes plans, poems, maps, gardening blogs, adverts, ethnographies and ephemera, as well as literature by Koos Prinsloo, Marlene van Niekerk and Ivan Vladislavic. In addition, the book includes colour reproductions of lawn artworks by David Goldblatt, Lungiswa Gqunta, Pieter Hugo, Anton Kannemeyer, Sabelo Mlangeni, Moses Tladi and Kemang Wa Lehulere.

This book shows that even if the enchantment of a green, flat and soft lawn is almost universal, there are also unexpected moments when alternatives present themselves, occasions when people reject the politeness of the lawn, and situations in which we might glimpse a possible time after the lawn. Drawing on theory and conceptual tools from interdisciplinary fields such as ecocriticism, queer theory, art history and postcolonial studies, Civilising Grass offers the first sustained investigation of the lawn in Africa and contributes to the growing conversation about the complex relationships between humans and non-humans on the continent.

Mahabharata (Paperback): William Buck Mahabharata (Paperback)
William Buck; Introduction by B A Van Nooten
R357 R290 Discovery Miles 2 900 Save R67 (19%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

Few works in world literature have inspired so vast an audience in nations with radically different languages and cultures as the Mahabharata. Written some 2,000 years ago and probably the longest Indian epic ever composed, it is a story of dynastic struggle that culminates in a fatal clash between two branches of a single ruling family. It is a moral and philosophical tale as well as a historical one. In his introduction, Sanskritist B. A. van Nooten notes that apart from William Buck's rendition no other English version has been able to capture the blend of religion and martial spirit that pervades the original epic.

Clear Word and Third Sight - Folk Groundings and Diasporic Consciousness in African CaribbeanWriting (Paperback): Catherine A.... Clear Word and Third Sight - Folk Groundings and Diasporic Consciousness in African CaribbeanWriting (Paperback)
Catherine A. John
R655 Discovery Miles 6 550 Shipped within 7 - 11 working days

"Clear Word and Third Sight examines the strands of a collective African Diasporic consciousness in the works of several black Caribbean writers. John shows how a shared consciousness, or "third sight," is rooted in both pre-and postcolonial cultural practices and disseminated through a rich oral tradition. This consciousness has served diasporic communities by creating an alternate philosophical "worldsense" linking those of African descent across space and time. Contesting popular discourses about what constitutes culture and maintaining that neglected strains in Negritude discourse provide a crucial philosophical perspective on the connections between folk practices, cultural memory and collective consciousness, John examines the diasporic principles in the work of the Negritude writers Leopold Damas, Aime Cesaire and Leopold Senghor. She traces the manifestations and reworkings of their ideas in Afro-Caribbean writing from the Eastern and French Caribbean, as well as the Caribbean diaspora in the United States. The authors she discusses include Jamaica Kincaid, Earl Lovelace, Simone Schwarz-Bart, Audre Lorde, Paule Marshall and Edouard Glissant, among others. John argues that by incorporating what she calls folk groundings--such as poems, folktales, proverbs and songs--into their work. Afro-Caribbean writers invoke a psychospiritual consciousness which combines old and new strategics for addressing the ongoing postcolonial struggle.

The Catcher In The Rye (Paperback, 1st Back Bay pbk. ed): J. D Salinger The Catcher In The Rye (Paperback, 1st Back Bay pbk. ed)
J. D Salinger 2
R311 R202 Discovery Miles 2 020 Save R109 (35%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

Anyone who has read J.D. Salinger's New Yorker stories ? particularly A Perfect Day for Bananafish, Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut, The Laughing Man, and For Esme ? With Love and Squalor, will not be surprised by the fact that his first novel is fully of children. The hero-narrator of THE CATCHER IN THE RYE is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it. There are many voices in this novel: children's voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden's voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.

The Wister Trace - Assaying Classic Western Fiction (Paperback, 2nd ed.): Loren D Estleman The Wister Trace - Assaying Classic Western Fiction (Paperback, 2nd ed.)
Loren D Estleman
R360 R291 Discovery Miles 2 910 Save R69 (19%) Shipped within 7 - 11 working days


A master practitioner's view of his craft, this classic survey of the fiction of the American West is part literary history, part criticism, and entertaining throughout. The first edition of "The Wister Trace" was published in 1987, when Larry McMurtry had just reinvented himself as a writer of Westerns and Cormac McCarthy's career had not yet taken off. Loren D. Estleman's long-overdue update connects these new masters with older writers, assesses the genre's past, present, and future, and takes account of the renaissance of western movies, as well.
Estleman's title indicates the importance he assigns Owen Wister's 1902 classic, "The Virginian. "Wister was not the first writer of Westerns, but he defined the genre, contrasting chivalry with the lawlessness of the border and introducing such lines as "When you call me that, smile " Estleman tips his hat to Wister's predecessors, among them Ned Buntline, the inventor of the dime novel, and Buffalo Bill. His assessments of Wister's successors--Zane Grey, Walter Van Tilburg Clark, and Louis L'Amour, to name but three--soon make clear the impossibility of differentiating great western writing from great American writing.
Especially important in this new edition is the attention to women writers. The author devotes a chapter each to Dorothy Johnson--author of "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance"--and Annie Proulx, whose Wyoming stories include "Brokeback Mountain." In his discussion of movies, Estleman includes a list of film adaptations that will guide readers to movies, and moviegoers to books. An appendix draws readers' attention to authors not covered elsewhere in the volume--some of them old masters like Bret Harte and Jack London, but many of them fascinating outliers ranging from Clifford Irving to Joe R. Lansdale.

John Greenleaf Whittiers Poet Pb (Book): Warren John Greenleaf Whittiers Poet Pb (Book)
Warren
R1,074 Discovery Miles 10 740 Shipped within 7 - 11 working days

"John Greenleaf Whittier's Poetry " was first published in 1971. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

In this volume Robert Warren Penn, the noted critic, poet, and novelist, provides a major new appraisal of the once enormously popular New England port, John Greenleaf Whittier, along with his selection of 36 of Whittier's poems. Through Warren's perceptive and illuminating discussion, the significance of Whittier as a writer for our time becomes clear. In his introduction Warren shows that Whittier's deep commitment to his fellowman, especially his devotion to the cause of abolition, profoundly influenced his writing. In his estimate of Whittier's place in literature, Warren invokes the questions What does the past mean to an American? and in this context he compares Whittier with Cooper, Hawthorne, Melville, and Faulkner. He finds that Whittier's "star belongs in their constellation. If it is less commanding than any of theirs it yet shines with a clear and authentic light."

Lessons from Lucy - The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog (Large print, Hardcover, Large type / large print edition): Dave Barry Lessons from Lucy - The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog (Large print, Hardcover, Large type / large print edition)
Dave Barry
R585 Discovery Miles 5 850 Shipped within 7 - 11 working days
Sucking Up - A Brief Consideration of Sycophancy (Hardcover): Deborah Parker, Mark L. Parker Sucking Up - A Brief Consideration of Sycophancy (Hardcover)
Deborah Parker, Mark L. Parker
R352 R263 Discovery Miles 2 630 Save R89 (25%) Shipped within 7 - 11 working days

Suck-up. Ass-kisser. Brownnoser. Bootlicker. Lickspittle. Toadeater... Found in every walk of life, both real and imagined, sycophants surround us. But whether we grumble about sycophancy or grudgingly tolerate it as a price of getting along in a complex society, we rarely examine it closely. This book humorously considers that slavish art from the historical past to our current political environment, and particularly through the revealing lens of literature. Some of the grandest examples of yes-men appear in these pages--from Dante's flatterers and Dickens's Uriah Heep to Kellyanne Conway, who urged us to "go buy Ivanka's stuff," and the obsequious soul who apologized to Vice President Cheney for being shot by him.More relevant now than ever, as sucking up becomes the master trope of the Trump era, this choice romp through the spectacular world of bowing and scraping will entertain and enlighten.

Edna Ferber's America (Hardcover): Eliza R.L McGraw Edna Ferber's America (Hardcover)
Eliza R.L McGraw
R738 Discovery Miles 7 380 Shipped within 7 - 11 working days

From the 1910s to the 1950s, Edna Ferber (1885--1968) published a series of bestselling novels that made her one of Doubleday's highest-paid authors, earned her a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1925, and transformed her into a literary celebrity. She hosted dinner parties covered by the New York Times, lunched at the Algonquin Round Table with Dorothy Parker and Alexander Woollcott, and collaborated with George S. Kaufman on hit plays such as Dinner at Eight and Stage Door. In Edna Ferber's America, Eliza McGraw provides the first in-depth critical study of the author's novels, exploring their innovative portrayals of characters from a diverse range of ethnicities and social classes.

Best remembered today for the movies and musicals adapted from her works -- including classics like Giant and Show Boat -- Ferber attracted a devoted readership during her lifetime with engaging storylines focused on strong-willed individuals reshaping their lives, set amid a panorama of regional landscapes. McGraw reveals that Ferber's novels convey a broad, nuanced vision of the United States as a multiethnic country.

Framing her study with the theme of ethnic unease and insecurity, McGraw performs close readings of twelve Ferber novels: Dawn O'Hara (1911), Fanny Herself (1917), The Girls (1921), So Big (1924), Show Boat (1926), Cimarron (1929), American Beauty (1931), Come and Get It (1935), Saratoga Trunk (1941), Great Son (1945), Giant (1952), and Ice Palace (1958). McGraw explores the entwined topics of racial mixing and class as she argues that in Ferber's America, ethnic and social mobility challenge the reigning order, creating places that foster vitality and promise hope for the future.

Pulcinella - Or Entertainment for Children (Hardcover, 2nd ed.): Giorgio Agamben Pulcinella - Or Entertainment for Children (Hardcover, 2nd ed.)
Giorgio Agamben; Translated by Kevin Attell
R621 R447 Discovery Miles 4 470 Save R174 (28%) Shipped within 7 - 11 working days

The list of subjects that Giorgio Agamben has tackled in his career is dizzying--from the dangers of our current political moment to the traces of the distant past that inflect the culture around us today. With Pulcinella, Agamben is back with yet another surprising--and surprisingly relevant--subject: the commedia dell'arte character. At the heart of Pulcinella is Agamben's exploration of an album of 104 drawings, created by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (1727-1804) near the end of his life, that cover the life, adventures, death, and resurrection of the title character. Who is Pulcinella under his black mask? Is he a man, a demon, or a god? Mixing stories of the enigmatic Pulcinella with his own character in a sort of imaginary philosophical biography, Agamben attempts to locate the line connection between philosophy and comedy. Perhaps, contrary to what we've been told, comedy is not only more ancient and profound than tragedy, but also closer to philosophy--close enough, in fact, that, as happens in this book, at times the line between the two can blur.

Reading from Behind - A Cultural Analysis of the Anus (Paperback): Jonathan A. Allan Reading from Behind - A Cultural Analysis of the Anus (Paperback)
Jonathan A. Allan
R398 Discovery Miles 3 980 Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

'A serious work of theory.' The Guardian `Jonathan Allan has come up with a whole theory of the arsehole.' Dazed and Confused In a resolute deviation from the governing totality of the phallus, Reading from Behind offers a radical reorientation of the anus and its role in the collective imaginary. It exposes what is deeply hidden in our cultural production, and challenges the authority of paranoid, critical thought. A beautiful work that invites us beyond the rejection of phallocentricism, to a new way of being and thinking about sex, culture and identity.

Desire and the Divine - Feminine Identity in White Southern Women's Writing (Hardcover): Kathaleen E. Amende Desire and the Divine - Feminine Identity in White Southern Women's Writing (Hardcover)
Kathaleen E. Amende
R655 Discovery Miles 6 550 Shipped within 7 - 11 working days

In this groundbreaking study, Kathaleen E. Amende considers the works and lives of late-twentieth-century southern women writers to explore how conservative Christian ideals of femininity shaped notions of religion, sexuality, and power in the South. Drawing from the work of authors like Rosemary Daniell and Connie May Fowler, whose characters like the authors themselves grow up believing that Jesus should be a girl s first boyfriend, Amende demonstrates many ways in which these writers commingled the sexual and the sacred. Amende also looks at the writings of Lee Smith, Sheri Reynolds, Dorothy Allison, and Valerie Martin and discusses how southern women authors and their characters grappled with opposing cultural expectations. Often in their work, characters mingle spiritual devotion and carnal love, allowing for salvation despite rejecting traditional roles or behaviors. In Martin s A Recent Martyr, novitiate Claire disavows southern norms of femininity courtship, marriage, and motherhood but submits to Jesus as she would to a husband. In Reynolds s Rapture of Canaan, teenage protagonist Ninah Huff imagines that her out-of-wedlock child is the offspring of Christ because of her conviction that Jesus was present during the sexual act that produced him. This tie between sexuality and religion afforded women movement between the two, but any attempt to separate them into compartmentalized spaces, as Amende shows, produces negative consequences from pain and mental illness to an inability to connect with others. Ultimately, women have to find a way to unite the realms of the body and of faith in order to achieve spiritual and romantic fulfillment. As in Dorothy Allison s Bastard Out of Carolina, where, for the protagonist, gospel music includes both the intensity of violent fantasies along with a spiritual yearning, it is only when the erotic and the spiritual coexist that women achieve full self-realization. Grounded in southern cultural and gender studies and informed by historical, religious, and devotional literature, Amende s timely and accessible book offers one the first studies to view the intersection of sexuality and Christianity in southern contexts.

Voltaire, Goldberg and Others - A Compendium of the Witty, the Profound and the Absurd (Paperback, New edition): Milton Shulman Voltaire, Goldberg and Others - A Compendium of the Witty, the Profound and the Absurd (Paperback, New edition)
Milton Shulman
R196 Discovery Miles 1 960 Shipped within 7 - 12 working days
Sharp - The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion (Paperback): Michelle Dean Sharp - The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion (Paperback)
Michelle Dean 1
R237 R195 Discovery Miles 1 950 Save R42 (18%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

A BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week 'This is such a great idea for a book, and Michelle Dean carries it off, showing us the complexities of her fascinating, extraordinary subjects, in print and out in the world. Dean writes with vigor, depth, knowledge and absorption, and as a result Sharp is a real achievement' Meg Wolitzer, New York Times Dorothy Parker, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron and Janet Malcolm are just some of the women whose lives intertwined as they cut through twentieth-century cultural and intellectual life in the United States, arguing as fervently with each other as they did with the men who so often belittled their work as journalists, novelists, critics and poets. These women are united by their 'sharpness': an accuracy and precision of thought and wit, a claiming of power through their writing. Sharp is a rich and lively portrait of these women and their world, where Manhattan cocktail parties, fuelled by lethal quantities of both alcohol and gossip, could lead to high-stakes slanging matches in the Partisan Review or the New York Review of Books. It is fascinating and revealing on how these women came to be so influential in a climate in which they were routinely met with condescension and derision by their male counterparts. Michelle Dean mixes biography, criticism and cultural and social history to create an enthralling exploration of how a group of brilliant women became central figures in the world of letters, staked out territory for themselves and began to change the world.

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