Other Free Encyclopedias » Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern Fiction » Books & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Mc-Pa)

Olsen, Tillie

fiction silences novel

(US, 1913– )

Tillie Olsen is one of the commanding voices of American radical writing. She was born in Nebraska and brought up in the Jewish-Socialist community in Omaha. Her early success was in the field of the short story with Tell Me a Riddle, a collection from 1961 winning numerous awards including the O. Henry. The best way into Olsen's fiction is her novel Yonnondio: From the Thirties (1974), begun at the age of 19 but abandoned for thirty years because of domestic and political commitments. The novel describes the effects of economic hardship on the Holbrook family in powerful, experimental prose. But it is for a non-fiction book, Silences (1978), that she is most widely known. Silences is in the tradition of Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own, discussing the relationship between creativity and economics, class, race, and gender, and is a groundbreaking study.

D. H. Lawrence, John Steinbeck  LM

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